Book Review: Smart Kids, Bad Schools

Dear Readers,

Have you ever thought that our schools are a mess?  Well, they kind of are, and I have some really good ideas written down.  No, I never came up with any ideas, but I wish there was an update on how they are going.  In “Smart Kids, Bad Schools: 38 Ways to Save America’s Future”, our schools are depicted pretty accurately.  I’ll say that the schools we are sending our children to are ultimately the worst kind of schools we can imagine.

I agree with a lot of what the author, Brian Crosby, has to say.  Teachers are ultimately taking advantage of our students.  What teacher would you like to teach your child?  The ninety-nine cent teacher?  Or maybe the $100,000 teacher?  I’d love to see teachers get paid a lot.  what’s wrong with this?

The only thing Mr. Crosby does not understand nor mention in his book are the following things: let’s read if we have blind sons and daughters who have been through it.

For the ones who have had partially sighted people who were denied Braille services, cutting special education would make it worse.  What Mr. Crosby proposes is to have insurance companies to do a lot of the stuff that schools do.  Free and appropriate education is the law for special kids, but we often don’t realize that even “appropriate” and “free” education is denied half the time because these kids will not grow up to do things we want them to do.  For totals, it’s easier to get Braille services, and we still have a total illiteracy rate of 90%.  Shocking?  Well, Mr. Crosby’s proposal of cutting special education will make that literacy rate worse.  For blind children and adults, we will suffer such a huge illiteracy rate that kids like … well, myself, my boyfriend, and most of my totally blind friends will be like the diamonds in a pile of stones, rare diamonds the size of golf balls if you wanna know.  I say, there are lots of rare diamonds.  All of my friends, except a few, are totals.  Most of my friends love Braille and can rave about Braille all day.

Braille literacy is so important, but Crosby should write a book about this important crisis in our country.  Yes, he can say that African countries have a bigger problem, but in this country, everybody’s important and everybody should be treated equally.  For instance, my friend Jessie Hernandez.  He’s a Braille reader, and as such, he is 90% likely out of the 10% who read Braille to get employed.  We need employment more than we need to sit in institutions.

Cutting Jessie’s classes would have ultimately spelled disaster not only for him, but for all the blind kids in Florida, where he lives and was educated.  Okay, I just proved a point.  Braille readers are leaders.  IF you can read it, you can get a job.  Jessie is living proof.  If I could put a resume in here, I would say that I wrote an essay on JAWS, the screen reader that we use so frequently.  What does Smart Kids, Bad Schools also miss?  Bullying is another problem.

We say that schoolyard bullying is the rite of passage for children in America, but it isn’t.  I’m living proof of this.  My ex, Jason, as much as I hate what he has done to women, is proof of this as well.  In the deep South, we have a huge problem.  While the Confederate flag flaps about the capitol in Atlanta, Charleston, etc., we also have another bad symbol.  It’s not a drawn out symbol, it’s not a flag, it’s a mentality.  This is called the playground bully extreme 2.0.  You will think I’m crazy for saying this, but let’s describe what Playground Bully 2.0 is.  This bully can be a really terrible guy, man, or woman, and he/she haunts you to the end of your days in school.  PB 2.0 is known for calling girls “dike” and guys “faggot” and others “freak” and other names.  But it goes further.  He/she takes your books away, makes your equipment unusable, tries to walk all over you.  HE throws rocks at you, and sometimes while calling you the names.  Then, he can get whole groups to sexually harass you.  That can lead to the worst thing, bully related suicide, or bullycide.  This has happened to too many teenage boys and girls alike, or sometimes elementary aged kids.  Mr. Crosby has no clue who is doing this and why it’s being done.  For this problem, I’ll leave it up to Carrie Goldman, and her book Bullied.  She talks about kids with disabilities, kids who are different, boys who are princesses, etc.  Mrs. Goldman has a husband who is a math teacher, and he does not put up with “no homo” crap from the young boys he teaches.  I would never say that.  Ultimately, playground bullies, especially Bully 2.0, have a problem depicting manhood as violent.  Manhood does not mean commit violence.  Jessie and others who have real jobs, know how to read, have lots of friends outside school, prove that bully prevention and safe education for all is key to making our world better.

Mr. Crosby’s book does, however, have lots of great ideas.  I like sleeping in before school.  Kids should not have to get up so early in the morning.  As he wrote, “In olden times, when children worked on the family’s farm, there was a reason to wake them up at the crack of dawn. …”  Crosby also says that bells should not be ringing in schools.  Well, he also shows us that school is a prison in the first chapter.  Well, not really, but he compares schools to prisons, and it is so close!

Let’s say that bells are not the only things that make schools like jails.  Bells, higher ups, gates and walls, one unlocked door for access, times schedule of activity, high clientel to guard or student to teacher ratio, lots of inmates/students, a cafeteria (good place for fights to break out), too many mass showers, class/cellmates, lots of those inmates/students.  Socialization mentality as well.  Prisoners have to address wardens a certain way.  Imagine if your son or daughter went to a place that resembles where another family relative of yours is stuck for doing something bad.  If your child went to a school that resembled a prison, I guess it wouldn’t be so good, wouldn’t it?  My favorite chapters have to do with the way teachers are treated.  Anyway, gotta run.

Beth

Author: denverqueen

My name is Beth. I'm blind from birth and enjoy the blogging atmosphere. I am a creative person, a musician, a writer, etc. This is me. Take it or leave it.

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