I came across an interesting statistic the other day: between 2000 and 2019, the number of students in the USA increased by 7.6 percent, the number of teachers increased by 8.7 percent, and the number of district administrators increased by 87.6 percent. In case you think that’s a typo . . . well, it isn’t.
It goes go to show where the problem with our education system lies — in the bureaucracy. It explains the politicization of the schools and why students are being taught so many topics parents think are their purview, such as sex education, gender identification, political leanings, and a whole slew of other subjects that don’t really belong in schools. Or maybe they do. I do know that, as many totalitarian political leaders discovered, if you want to change the social fabric of a country or a world, you start with the youngest. (I hesitate to use the dreaded term “indoctrination,” but that’s what anything beyond the basics — reading, writing, arithmetic — comes down to.) Such changes aren’t made immediately — it takes generations and whole lot of political hacks to force those changes.
Not surprisingly, the blue states have a greater growth in the number of administrators, since it seems that what is being taught in schools is more of a liberal agenda, but in all states, education funds and authority are flowing away from schools and toward the bureaucracy.
Do I sound outraged? Well, I’m not. I’m all out of outrage. During my life, I’ve dealt with a vast number of outrageous matters — systemic injustice, torture, genocide, terrorism, horrors galore. Not that I experienced much myself, though I was alive for many such instances and beyond that, I learned of some ghastly occurrences from history classes, and the rest came from my years of reading. (It’s why I stick with mostly fiction nowadays — if there’s an issue I don’t want to deal with, I close the book or skip to a more felicitous chapter.)
Still, these statistics do surprise me, though they shouldn’t. There is a war going on this country between two completely different ideologies. In my younger years, it didn’t matter too much what one’s politics were — we all basically wanted the same thing: a safe place to live and to raise families, freedom to believe what we believe, a chance of financial success or at least a living wage. Nowadays it seems as if the ways of getting those things are vastly different depending on one’s politics, so much so that it’s hard to believe people still want the same thing. In fact, how one defines those things are different from person to person and party to party. One side wants a heck of lot more government intervention, the other side wants less.
Admittedly, this division hasn’t simply sprung up in the past few years. It started generations ago — long before I went to school. And now this war is taking place in the classrooms to a greater extent than any time previously.
And oops. I can’t believe I wrote this. I try to stay away from anything that smacks of politics because nothing I say really matters and only makes people argumentative, but oh, well. The statistics seem to speak for themselves.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.