July 23, 2024

Schools Suck…

…in part…because of laughable administrative decisions like this one:

Writing “I love Alex” on a school gymnasium wall brought a 12-year-old the same punishment as if she had made terrorist threats.

The Katy Independent School District rated the message, written with a baby blue marker by sixth-grader Shelby Sendelbach, as a Level 4 infraction — the same as for threats, drug possession and assault.

School district spokesman Steve Stanford said the district was just following a state law, saying it requires assignment to an alternative school for graffiti.

Her parents have appealed and a hearing is set for this month.

One can practically hear the little hamsters in Stanford’s mind screaming, “It’s not my fault.  I was just following the rules.  I didn’t want to do it.  I had to.”


I hope Shelby’s parents fight this bit of stupidity all the way to the end.  Should they lose, I hope they pull her out of that school.  It’s infuriating, the inanities that these people force down our throats.

“But we’re just following the rules.  It’s not our fault!”

How about thinking for yourselves instead?

But therein lies the problem – it does not pay for KISD to act rationally in this case, does it?  Rationality is the art of discriminating between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, actions, and choices, and is therefore something to be avoided at all costs if one wants to retain one’s job and meet one’s mortgage payment, etc.
On another note, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee had this to say about the failures of American education:

It infuriates me when people dismiss the arts as extracurricular, extraneous, and expendable. To me, they’re essential. What would happen if an art teacher puts a paintbrush in a young boy’s hand, and he discovers his God-given talent? Inside every child, there are treasures to find. Education’s Job One in the 21st century must be to unlock those treasures.

Studies have shown a direct correlation between quality music education and higher English and math scores, up to one-third higher. Music develops both sides of the brain and the capacity to think in the abstract. Music teaches students how to learn, and that skill is transferable to learning foreign languages, algebra, or history.

Art and music also keep children in school. There is an established correlation between engagement in the arts and dropout rates. But we have to do even more to bring down the 30% dropout rate. We need to transform our schools, especially at the high school level. I have a plan that will virtually eliminate dropouts, raise standards, yet save so much money that we can strengthen early learning, reduce college costs, and save taxpayers billions of dollars.

It’s called personalized learning. I want to put each child at the center of his education, so that his learning reflects his interests and aspirations. With the help of his teachers, parents, and community, each student drafts a learning plan. He studies a core curriculum for part of the day, but beyond that, he is encouraged to integrate his personal passions and career ambitions into credits toward graduation. What has traditionally been extracurricular becomes part of his custom-made curriculum and a source of academic credit. A student who takes karate gets gym credit. A student who plays in a rock band gets music credit. A student intern at a newspaper gets English credit. The opportunities are as limitless as each one’s imagination and dreams. Let’s remove the walls and roof of the classroom and realize that it encompasses the entire community; with the Internet, it now encompasses the entire world.

I agree whole-heartedly that our state-run, centrally-administered, one-size-fits-all education system has failed.  It is time to do something different.

But can we really trust the Steve Stanfords of the nation to run a system such as the one Huckabee describes, one in which they simply wouldn’t be able to “follow the rules”?

In fairness, none of this is fundamentally Stanford’s – or Katy ISD’s – fault.

Rather, the politically correct, non-judgmental, non-standard of behavior expected – demanded, really – in American society today has almost completely corroded away the ability for many people to make appropriate decisions.  This problem is not limited to the education system – although it sinks to new depths there because of its public funding – but rather is endemic to modern life.
If we truly want to right our ship and recover the bold sense of derring-do that made America the greatest nation in the history of the world, we must first jettison the foolish notion that our actions – and our education – have to be undertaken without making hard choices and without offending some people.
Huckabee says:

Our national security depends on retaining our economic superiority as much as our military superiority. If we win the war on terror – and we will – but lose out to China economically, we’ve lost our position as the world’s only superpower.

That’s right.  But know that we have no chance of staying ahead of the rest of the world if we continue down the path of least offense.

(hat tip to Polimom – we miss you.)


Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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4 thoughts on “Schools Suck…

  1. Just as a note, the brand new KATY ISD superintendent has stated that he is going to work with the parents to come to a realistic solution to the problem. The problem is a group of bureaucrats that are hiding behind some rules (zer tolerance) and use that to justify their stupidity.

  2. “the brand new KATY ISD superintendent has stated that he is going to work with the parents to come to a realistic solution”

    That’s great. But what’s nauseating about this issue is that “the system” didn’t simply act to generate a realistic solution on its own.

    That is the purpose of having an administration, not to blindly follow rules handed down from on high in Austin.

    But the real issue is the need for those who wish to stay employed to follow the insipid creed of political correctness and to defer taking independent action.

    Until that need is removed we’ll constantly be subject to this sort of inane decisions.

  3. Good post and discussion. I see a lot of ranting online regarding government and entrenched bureaucracy. Nevertheless, it’s always nice to see that other people have similar reactions and I know these controversies will be in the forefront of everyone’s minds as we go into the next year of debates, elections, etc. It will make a difference.


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