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Get rid of the politics – all kids can learn

G.W. Seegmiller Berkeley
Thursday January 17, 2002


In a persistent and fanatical bid to engineer Berkeley schools, the powerful and liberal status quo continues to debate the efficacy of “small schools.”  

This on-going debate is pure foolishness. Does anyone still think that serving up lunchroom size, homogenized education will actually improve student achievement? What nonsense. The billions of dollars spent over 40 years of grand experimentation demonstrates the failure to achieve its objective. 

How do we know this? Just examine the dialog. “Achievement scores are down and class size is up. California scores are at rock bottom and there is a widening achievement gap.” The same old worn out liberal mantra with the same old bleating for more federal and state cash bail-out grants.  

Do they actually expect anyone to believe this? Now, the Berkeley Daily Planet accusingly reports that the achievement gap exists only between white kids and minorities. What a blatant, and racist assumption. It’s like saying that sure, minority students can “hoop it up,” but they don’t have the talent to excel scholastically.  

Frankly, any such conclusion offends me. Students excel because they are motivated and want to do well, not because their roots are found in one ethnicity or another. Some students discover their motivational fuel in deeply held personal goals.  

Believe it or not, many young people aspire to a life work that is lofty and seemingly unattainable. Hurray for them! The benevolent thing to do would be to support their positive direction and not sidetrack them into a political labyrinth in a money-grubbing search for smaller schools. 

School kids that are motivated are the same kids that are encouraged at home.  

Imagine that, young people with moms and dads that actually care do well in school. Reputable studies prove this out. Regardless of your race, creed or color, if your mom and dad get involved with your schooling, you will be academically successful. 

Miraculously, there are students who find a way to carve out an education despite overwhelming odds shoved in their faces at school. I know, because I’ve seen it first hand. Schools and many all too willing teachers start the madness by shuffling achievement oriented kids with students who don’t give a rip about learning! 

This transparent maneuver gets nearly everyone off the hook and it’s so easy to explain. Get this! These “masters of manipulation” say that achieving students with good study skills and motivation will serve to elevate those kids not as equally endowed.  

Isn’t this wonderful! Kids helping kids...who could argue with that? What a load of trash. In reality, it’s the motivated student that gets bushwhacked by the ne’er-do-well. 

The class troublemakers are made wards of the achievement-oriented students.  

The yoking of the want-to-learn kids with a “Lex Luthor Wanna Be” is the exact circumstance that erodes and demolishes any possibility of learning. Maybe if we get rid of such bankrupt notions as “achievement gaps” and the “small schools” solution, kids will have more time for learning and less distraction from hyperbolic political hoopla. 


G.W. Seegmiller