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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

When my kids stop going to public schools after they graduate, I see no reason why I should pay any school taxes at all."
— Composite statement of a conversation I was briefly involved in
And exactly how do better schools benefit the entire community?"
— Actual question in an actual conversation I actually had on Facebook
Surely, you can’t be serious."
— Ted Striker
"I am serious . . . and don’t call me Shirley."
— Dr. Rumack
United States High School Students Rank Worldwide in Mathematics: 30th

United States High School Students Rank Worldwide in Science: 23rd

The best performing state in America in math was Massachusetts, but students in Shanghai, China showed to be two years ahead of Massachusetts students in their math abilities.
- Source:

For the 2013-14 school year, the Lockport City School District ranked 424th in the state of New York based on average test scores.
- Source:

You are not allowed to read this column until you study the information I just provided, and that includes the Airplane! quote. I feel that Airplane! movie quotes prevent me from going all stabby-stabby when my ignorance meter gets peaked by truly ignorant statements.

Ok, a lot of you believe the statement at the top of the page. Many of you who believe that statement will then, usually, ask the question I posted after the statement. Surely, you cannot be serious. Then, it becomes my job to remind you of the figures that show just how crappy the United States educational system is compared to developing nations like China. Everyone is so scared of the Chinese taking over the world, but no one seems to care that the Chinese are actually investing in the education of their children to help facilitate said goal of taking over the world.

The very best high school students the United States has to offer in math are still two years behind the children in Shanghai, China. The thing that I find most disturbing is that the fact that our students not even being in the top 10 in the world in science and math does not bother a large section of the American population…when it should bother them a lot.

Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue."
— Steve McCroskey

As I interact with “people” on Facebook and other social media outlets, I start to get a better sense as to why this country is headed directly into the abyss. Sometimes, the pure ignorance of people takes me off-guard, but that is usually tempered by the fact that the really ignorant people are lone wolves making noise in the forest. But when I hit a patch of rampant ignorance, like I did with this particular subject, I really have to sit back and wonder why the hell we even bother trying to be a country.

I’m actually trying to be nice here, but when you show such blatant ignorance as to not understand how perpetually funding our educational system is a good thing, then I have to drop the nice act. If someone who believed this nonsense had used a semi-logical reason such as the corruption in school districts and the way districts spend on everything except the schools and the students, then I could almost forgive what was being said. But the only excuse that was given was that older people don’t want to pay school taxes just because and that’s why. Now, I am going to lose it on the ignorant ones.

When this country was establishing itself as a power in the world, education was a priority. Not only did people pay school taxes, but there were often fundraising drives to bring in even more money to help schools. But as time went by and the 1980s introduced the “Me Decade”, people started to question why they had to pay for schools when their children did not use them. It has nothing to do with your children, you nitwit. It is your duty as an American citizen to make sure that our schools are the best they can possibly be so that future generations, the generations that will run this country, do not turn out to be total incompetents.

Imagine you are a 50-year-old person who has to change doctors because the doctor you have been going to for 30 years suddenly retired. Your new doctor, the only option your health insurance gives you, is about 30 years old and went through the public school system before going to medical school. Now, do you care if this person has been properly educated or not? Since everyone is being so selfish about this, I figured a selfish example would help to drive the point home. If that new doctor of yours went through a school system that was struggling with budget cuts and lack of funding, then you could be in a bit of trouble. Now do you care?

Education is the foundation on which any good society is built. The first thing a culture creates is its educational system, and then everything else branches out from there. If you keep each generation properly educated, then your society can remain competitive in the world market and, more importantly, your society has competent people to take care of things as time goes by.

I am not saying that everyone should pay full school taxes. Hell, even New York State doesn’t think people should pay full school taxes after their children graduate. It is called the Star program; go look it up. When you reach a certain age in NYS, I believe you no longer have to pay school taxes at all. Lucky you. Now you can wonder just how well-educated that new doctor of yours is when your old one retires and leaves you with no other choice.

The steady decline of the American educational system is evident all over the country as science is being replaced with myths and fairy tales. Stories that no one in my sixth grade class would have ever given the time of day are becoming state-mandated curriculums across many states. How much longer will it be before the United States slips into the 40s and even 50s with its worldwide educational rankings? Then what?

We got the big bombs, right? So long as we got the big bombs, who cares about education, right? What a joke. Everything I thought this country stood for when I was a kid has been churned up into a paste made of ignorance, self-righteousness, and greed.

Why should everyone contribute something to school taxes? So that the powers that be can stop oppressing people with the people's own ignorance. When children are educated, they question things and make great innovations. But none of that is happening. Instead, everyone is getting a trophy and music programs in schools around the country have become expendable. Why? Because ignorant people do not see the need for a strong educational system.

It doesn’t just make me weep for our children, it makes me weep for the whole country. When a culture no longer sees the value in education, then there is no need for that culture’s government to take oppressive acts against the people because the people are already oppressing themselves.

Yes, everyone should pay something into the educational system to help improve it. The fact that not everyone agrees with this is one of the core reasons why this country is falling apart.

+George N Root III is a Lockport resident who is continually shocked at what people believe and say. His column appears each week and is fairly entertaining, provided you can read it.

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