The Education Liberator, Vol. 1, No. 5, February 1996
Each month, we will profile individuals who have signed the Proclamation for the Separation of School & State.
Educators respond with higher doses of political correctness and Ritalin
Whether teaching in a small town in rural Montana or in an affluent suburb of Denver, mild-mannered public school teacher Robyn Miller continually felt like a lone voice crying in the education wilderness.
You mean I'm not supposed to correct their spelling? No, Robyn, we don't want to damage their fragile self-esteem by marking up their paper too much. You need to understand: the old way is out ? it was bad; this is the new way ? this is good.
Some of my third-graders progress faster than others. I'm encouraging those who can to keep plowing through the math book at their own speed. No, no, Robyn, you've created a problem. Now that some of your children have finished their math books in February and you've given them fourth-grade books to start on, what are the fourth-grade teachers supposed to do next year?
But our school is already lavishly equipped ? I don't feel right about spending taxpayer money on all these things I don't really need. Follow the party line, Robyn. If we don't spend the money, we won't get it again next year.
It seems that, like the rockin' robin ("tweet tweet" ) in the popular oldie, Robyn Miller was always blowing the whistle. She was especially troubled by the infamous Special Education program, in which children ? 80 percent of whom have normal sight, hearing, and intelligence but simply cannot read, she believes, because of ineffective teaching methods ? are "sentenced" to learning disability (LD) classes, thereby creating in them "a pattern of failure for so many years to come."
She was troubled when she saw children being taken to an isolation room where Ph.D. school psychologists would treat them until " the children were just about cracking up." Disturbed by " what psychology was doing to some of these kids, " she even wrote a letter to parents asking them, "Do you know what they're doing to your children?"
"When I was a public school teacher, I used to think the system caused 75 percent of all learning disabilities," Robyn says. "Now I think it's about 99 percent."
She says that even in the so-called " best schools" she witnessed the social fabric deteriorating. Educators responded with higher doses of political correctness and Ritalin. This environment was beginning to have deleterious effects on Robyn's own children, the oldest of whom became so bored with school she just flat quit. In what proved to be the proverbial last straw, her teacher explained that this heretofore bright and motivated child now had ADD. Says Robyn, "That's when I jumped ship for sure."
She now educates her children at home, and highly recommends Sheldon Richman's Separating School & State, a book which confirmed her belief that "the system is the problem."
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