Why Schools Fail: An Illustration

Written by Scott

Topics: Homeschooling

critical thinking

No, I am not going to give a list, or even my opinions as to why schools fail. I’m going to use an illustration…

There’s an elementary school near us that has a reader board, and one of the main things that flashes across it is this:

All Children are Capable of Success! (then next screen)
No Exceptions!!!!

It’s one of these platitudinous statements that sounds good, but means absolutely nothing. Let’s analyze…without even concerning ourselves with the overuse of capitalization:

All children are capable of success. Of course, this depends on how you define success. Do all have the potential? Absolutely. But discussing potential is meaningless. May as well state that all children are capable of flying at 2100mph, because with enough force applied, they certainly could. Some children try harder than others. Some are more curious than others and want to learn. Some have parents that are supportive, while others do not. Some children are, frankly, more intelligent than others. Some children are stifled in traditional classes that have to accommodate for the abilities of the range of children, and in doing so, tend toward mediocrity than excelling, so that the bulk of students pass.  In other words, success, in public school forms, comes by lowering the bar to get the greatest number of students to “success”.

Then there’s the second statement: No Exceptions!!!! Aside from sounding almost militant, it’s highly ironic.

Here’s the irony: a school that is supposed to be educating students, apparently does not know what the word ‘ALL’ means in the previous statement. All is completely inclusive. There is no qualification for the word all–it either is or it isn’t. So following a meaningless but nice-sounding statement is a completely useless and redundant statement.

And to think some administration unionized official got paid quite nicely to contribute that gibberish…and probably got major accolades.

Now go succeed and live up to your potential!


  • I could go on for hours about the public school system…I spent the first few months speaking to teachers and the principal. That is a joke. My son brought home numerous papers with stars which is great except 90% of the words were spelled wrong, the sentences were incomplete and the writing was atrocious to say the least. When I called about it the teachers said "We only correct spelling on papers for English and writing. We just want to make sure they're getting the concepts" For the first time in my life I was actually rude. I asked if they realized allowing a child to spell words incorrectly in science and history would eventually spill over into other subjects and promote poor study habits. The sounded surprised. Apparently, no other parents actually look at their child's work if there is a star. After correcting every error the teacher missed and correcting a few of her corrections that were misspelled they finally started thoroughly correcting his work. He got in trouble too because he did far better last year and I know what he can do. He figured out quickly that in public school he could slide…well until I actually started looking closely. I made it clear that despite the schools standards, he was expected to meet the same standards he had in private school. He got two Cs and that went poorly for him so he's back to A's and a B now and then. My younger sons teacher is wonderful and my older sons teacher is becoming more diligent. I find it rather sad that I had to rip into someone for something a teacher should be doing like correcting spelling. I'll stop now.

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