Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Only Make Believe

schools, education, students, standards, suspension, punishment, discipline

Problems can be solved. But for those lacking the merest clue how to solve a given problem . . . alternatives exist.

Books can be cooked to pretend the problem no longer exists. And perhaps to fool others.

A series of articles in the Washington Post highlights the effort to reduce the rate by which city schools suspend students for misbehavior. The good news? “D.C. Public Schools has reported a dramatic decline in suspensions at a time when school systems around the country have been under pressure to take a less punitive approach to discipline.”

Results? A whopping 40-percent decline.

The bad news?

A Post investigation found that “at least seven of the city’s 18 high schools have kicked students out of school for misbehaving without calling it a suspension and in some cases even marked them present.” In those schools, “most suspensions were not reported.”*

The Post further uncovered documentation showing that “DCPS officials knew students were being sent home without documentation at least as early as 2010.”

It brings to mind the recent scandal in Prince George’s County (Maryland) Public Schools, where a dramatic announcement that the county increased its student graduation rate faster than any other county . . . was followed by an investigation into grade tampering by school administration officials, which numerous teachers have alleged.

It is also reminscent of the systematic cheating on standardized tests in Atlanta — and across the nation.

Hiding the truth, cheating on tests, lying about results . . . not the actions of a system teaching kids a love of truth.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.


* Seven schools’ emails show that students spent a total of 406 days in suspension in January 2016. Officially recorded? Only 15 percent.

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Illustration based on a photo by Tod Baker

By: CS Admin


  1. drrik says:

    To paraphrase Stalin: it matters not what the real votes are. It only matters how they are counted. 

  2. JFB says:

    When irrelevant or impossible standards are set, or meaningless comparisons are made, especially if they are used for funding decisions, definition and classification slides and shifts for reporting purposes are minor symptoms. In Michigan school districts have been known to provide gifts, actual remuneration and other incentives for students attending on census count days (where the student count determines state funding).
    The reality is that educating the offspring of the War on the Impoverished is much more difficult and expensive than students in districts where the society is still reasonably intact. No school system alone can fully counter the disaster which has been created by the unintended consequences of the “good hearted” social programs.
    These realities are known to all rational and critical thinkers, but cannot be admitted or mentioned because they are not politically correct. Until the country and its leadership are willing to focus on the cause the problems and disparities will not only remain, they will be exacerbated and spread.

  3. Golfnut6 says:

    My favorite corruption of the government schools is the expression “teaching to the test”. Is that bad?
    Probably. Does that mean making sure to cover the subjects thought to be important educational goals by the test creators? No. It means keeping and using prior year copies of the test and pounding those questions and answers into their little brains.

    • John F Brennan says:

      “Teaching to the test” is a true abomination. It is equivalent to storing data is a memory stick as opposed to programming the processor in a computer. Data storage is not the goal. Education’s goal must be the development of critical and logical thought processes for use when the person is presented with data. 
      All simple data is past tense, and it must be studied and processed for use in the present and future for improvement and in order to discourage the repetition of past mistakes. 
      Schools, as a result of the management and administrative measures currently being used, and actually being motivated not to perform their primary and most important function. 

  4. Brian Wright says:

    Separate government and schools/education for the same reason to separate church and state. Government schooling, like slavery, is barbaric.

  5. Not So Free says:

    The further government gets into the schools, the worse things get.
    Unfortunately, it is nothing new.

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