From news service reports

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Some teachers (particularly those with strong union ties) love to blame students and parents for academic failures. In particular, they zero in on those poor “minority” students.

Look no further than retired Michigan teacher Lou Kitchenmaster.PhotoSpinOffice Imagery© 2001

Writing in the Grand Rapids Press, he says:

Let us also recognize that the perceived education-problem is really little more than a societal problem, and that our schools are simply a reflection of the communities they serve. Research clearly supports a strong correlation between student achievement and socio-economic status.

Few would dispute that a good home and good parents are the most important educational factors in the life of a child. Consider that nearly one in four Michigan children lives in poverty, and about 50 percent in our largest city. In Detroit, approximately 70 percent of households are single-parented, a city where sending a legion of Michigan’s finest teachers would have very minimal benefit under current conditions.

None of us would expect our major auto makers to build a high-quality product given damaged or defective materials; however, too many unfairly expect our public schools to accomplish such – regardless the inherent condition of the “product” they receive.

Suffice to say, if any Michigan schools are failing, the reasons extend well beyond classroom walls — some directly to the Capitol in Lansing. Our public schools are not perfect and should always strive to improve, but considering all that’s expected of them, including the hurdles and obstacles with which they struggle daily, they’re doing a pretty darn good job.

Certainly, there is a lot right with education in Michigan, with a lot of good people teaching our children. For that, we should all be grateful.

Perhaps the most offensive part of this editorial is the fact that Kitchenmaster’s excuses are disproven by schools across the country every day. Many charter and private schools cater to the so-called “damaged or defective” students and yield incredible results.

If current public school employees feel like Kitchenmaster and are, in essence, throwing up their hands, their school districts should have the decency to free students to seek other schools – public or private – at state expense.

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