Today as our precious post-Millennial snowflakes, spawn of the worst generation ever*, walk out of class to protest their constitutional rights, ‘Puter’d like to take a moment to reflect. Oh, ‘Puter’s not going to reflect on the kids’ masturbatory fantasies about changing the world by protesting really, really hard and meaning it a whole lot. ‘Puter wants to focus on a real-world example of our education system’s failure.**
Read this article about a Rochester City School District student’s recent death. Briefly, Trevyan Rowe was a 14 year old kid with some sort of learning disability, likely autism spectral. Trevyan’s*** parent put him on the bus to school. The bus dropped him at school. Trevyan walked up to the school’s doors (caught on surveillance camera footage), then disappeared. Trevyan’s first three period teachers marked him present. Only his special ed teacher marked him absent. A robocall never went out to Trevyan’s parent noting his absence because his teachers marked him present. One or more of Trevyan’s teachers, on learning he had disappeared, went back and tried to change the attendance records to mark him present.
Between 08:00 and 08:30, 911 operators received numerous calls about a black kid on an interstate bridge over the Genesee River on the wrong side of the railing. The operators ignored protocol and did not dispatch fire and rescue equipment including the water rescue team or notify the department’s scuba team to be on standby as required. A police car was dispatched, saw nothing, and left the scene.
Four days later, after unwinding the colossal mass of screw-ups, the fire department’s scuba team found Trevyan’s body exactly where the 911 callers saw the kid on the wrong side of the guard rails.
Yesterday, the Rochester City School District and the Rochester mayor held press conferences. We learned six 911 operators had been placed on administrative leave and at least one school district employee was in the disciplinary process.
‘Puter would note Rochester City School Board president Van White, a man with whom ‘Puter rarely agrees, delivered a master class in damage control and human decency. Mr. White took full responsibility for the district’s failures, said there was absolutely no excuse for the failures, pledged to discipline those responsible, and swore to fix the problems going forward. Mr. White told the truth, accepted responsibility, and asked for forgiveness. Major corporations and the federal government would do well to learn from Mr. White’s example.****
‘Puter’s point is this. America’s public education system is broken.
America’s public education system’s f*ck-up-edness is surpassed only by general governmental f*ck-up-edness. At least three teachers and six 911 operators disobeyed rules, law, and procedure contributing to Trevyan Rowe’s death. Yet, no one’s been fired.
Imagine a worker on the General Mills cereal line who decides the food safety rules aren’t for him and lets a few tainted bags of oats into the machinery because, meh, it’s too much work, it probably isn’t a big deal, and even if it is no one will ever trace it to him anyway. Imagine that quality inspectors catch the tainted oats, but decide screw the regulations, it’s probably nothing, and send an email marked low importance to an entry level management trainee in the accounting department. Imagine one box of tainted Lucky Charms results from these individuals’ dereliction and is shipped to a Rochester area Wegmans. Imagine Trevyan Rowe’s mom buys that very box, Trevyan eats it, and dies.
Does anyone believe that General Mills wouldn’t get to the bottom of the issue that day and fire everyone involved? Does anyone believe that federal, state, and local prosecutors and regulators wouldn’t be champing at the bit to criminally charge and/or file civil or regulatory actions against General Mills and the employees in question? Does anyone believe General Mills wouldn’t be writing a big, fat check to Trevyan Rowe’s parent?
So why is it any different for our public schools? Why isn’t it any different for government employees? The answer’s fairly simple. Public workers (teachers and 911 operators) are unionized and covered by civil service laws. Additionally, there is no customer service pressure on either teachers or 911 operators. Both are funded by tax dollars which are provided not on the basis of quality of service, but on the basis of union-negotiated contract requirements and unfunded federal and state mandates. Quality figures nowhere in the metric.
Bringing this post full circle, the overabundance of sniveling, whiny, know-nothing Snowflakes and Trevyan Rowe’s death are related. Our public education system has failed them both.*****
There’s an old saying, “You get what you pay for.” In the case of public education, the adage is false. The more we pay, the less it seems we get.
* The Boomers have been more destructive to our society than a plague of locusts, Oprah Winfrey, and Scientology combined.
** ‘Puter’s not talking about the obvious failure of our education system to produce students who understand arguing for abridging their own constitutional rights is stupid on steroids.
*** ‘Puter didn’t misspell Trevyan. That’s the kid’s name, which is a whole ‘nother issue. Oh, and it’s pronounced “TRAY-vonn,” so of course it’s spelled with the “v” before the “y” because reasons. And ‘Puter doesn’t want to hear your crap about how it’s racist to make fun of a black kid’s name. ‘Puter’s not making fun of the kid. He’s making fun of the parents who, despite phonetically spelling out the kid’s name, actually misspelled it phonetically. ‘Puter’s sorry he can’t pronounce your kid’s name which you decided to “spell” ignoring all known rules of spelling, pronunciation, and phonetics. Clearly, that’s on ‘Puter.
**** From the damage control part, not from the massive f*ck-up part.
***** ‘Puter leaves aside the other contributing factors both have in common, such as piss-poor parenting, absent fathers, substance abuse in the home, crappy teachers, dumbed-down curricula, economic troubles, etc.