Government Barriers displayed at 50% of viewport width
August 2018 by V. R. Duin


As schools stuff books with key words
They want all students to know,
Bored kids flock to screens like birds.
Fun stories make reading grow.

Learn how government-sanctioned reading lists and book fair books give power to some publishers at a loss of diversity in the supply chain, presenting barriers to beneficial titles for home reading programs.

Government sets up agencies for protection. It enables members, agencies and associations to prosper. It supports long-standing, monopolistic book fair books and reading lists designed for under-performing students.

Government gives power to big business to supply rigid education materials. This system lessens the variety of books. It is failing half of our children. Money comes with control, not with improvements learning.

Education is hurting publishing competition. Parents are offered little choice for home reading programs. They cannot move against the commercial force of government to find tools for specific learning levels, styles and problems.

Charter schools, private schools, school vouchers and tax credits are not within reach of everyone. Consumer welfare is harmed by government controls on labor, goods and services. Few students enjoy the available books.

Many parents trust “The System”. They may believe the government knows what is best. The top-down approaches and large-scale operations that rule teaching should be explored as obstacles to learning.

The power concentration is clear in our schools. Large insiders squeeze out small outsiders. Government guides purchases of standardized books from lists approved by this closed system for inside lessons and tests.

Conspiracy puts profit over learning. Financial incentives of subsidized books and kick-backs to schools should be seen as a secret plan for profit. Big government and big business direct money flows to inside books.

The system blocks independent books. Deliberate obstacles to independent books include professional reviews and grade level ratings from companies that rule out these books. The conspiracy only supports inside books.

Many schools in poor cities operate like prisons. Police and guards are in control. Schools short on supplies, technology and individual attention are focused on arming teachers. The commutes may be long.

There is a one-size-per-age control on reading in schools. Parents know their children better than the bureaucracy does. Parents make informed choices about their children's health, diet and religion.

Education puts limits on parental participation in school activities or operations. School choice is discouraged. Children may not be allowed to read outside their age level. Standards may be lowered.

A recent analysis by The Education Trust of 5 traditional middle schools and one K-8 school found classroom assignments were below standards. Assignments failed to challenge students.

Government puts limits on vocabulary in books. This government barriers may keep advanced books from gifted students' hands. The goal is to improve test scores and lower dropout rates of poor and minority children.

Parents of children in public schools may be discouraged from buying anything but book fair books. These parents feel obligated to buy books on age-based reading lists. Independent books are not on these lists.

Outside books cannot be used to prepare for inside tests. The government controls buying and promotion of books from the inside. Students graduating from this system may not function well in the outside world.

Increasingly, children “hate” to read. Big business and public education concentrate power in computer-generated materials with algorithms. These machine-generated texts are flat, boring and awkward.

Reading has become a drill for age-based tests. Books are designed to have key words present in the desired frequencies and quantities for the targeted age group. Schools have turned big data into a closed system.

Books and ideas for at home reading programs should offer interesting and fun reading practice and enrichment. Books for reading at home should motivate and facilitate reading, math and critical thinking.

There may be no homework requirement. Under pressure to raise graduation rates, educators are turning a blind eye to absenteeism and graduating failing students. The goal is to boost school reputations.

Learning must be done willingly. Thanks to restrictions, standardization and monopoly, learning may not be taking place. Children, who read boring materials, are not likely to become creative and motivated thinkers.

Parents may help struggling, average and gifted students with at home reading programs. Programs need new ideas and diverse books. Supply should not depend upon a closed system of big business and big government.

Parents should have an ability to end educational programs that are not working. They should be able to experiment with alternatives. Instead, they are subjected to a regulatory state with stagnant learning outcomes.

The government prioritizes low pricing and efficiency of scale. Inquiries or investigations into issues of importance to student futures are not emphasized in reading or learning.

“Superstar” suppliers created with government support may be contributing to a lack of involvement and engagement. Outside thinking is discouraged by strict structure, mass group-think, value-free education.

Independent thinkers and authors online might be the best place for parents to start their book search. Interesting and fun books are outside “The System”. These may be obtained at no cost.

An outside approach is less radical than pulling students from the failing system. Rather resort to private programs or home-schooling, turn to new books offered at low or no cost by Amazon “Prime” and lending libraries.

Creative writers rarely break through the strict control of book selection. The strength of a single, big supplier is creating growing reliance on the book fair alliance. Tax dollars bring bureaucratic oversight.

Politicians, policy makers and the educators have set up a regulatory state. The “establishment” leaves parents with no choice in the supply of labor, goods and services for the education of their children.

A mastery-based approach is being tested in a few schools across the country. Promotions of book fair books and other pay-backs remain. Gifted, average and under-performing students can advance at their own pace.

Mastery programs try to match coursework with personal strengths and weaknesses. Students build confidence and knowledge of course content through worksheets, discussions, coursework, internships and testing.

Students may not be broadening their intellectual capacity. They may not enjoy what they are doing. Many programs use alternative testing programs with lower passing scores to hand out diplomas.

Exceptions may be: Iowa's Muscatine Community School District, Ohio's “credit-flex”, Brooklyn's “M.S. 442”, District of Columbia and Bethesda, Maryland's “Mysa Menu” and some “micro-schools”.

Individualized education models are having good results. Dramatic increases in reading and math proficiency accompany these programs. Students breeze past content they have mastered to focus on deficiencies.

The system must focus on learning and thinking than school graduation rates. Nobody wins in this meltdown of learning. It is hard to support a closed system that may not be working.

Parental pressure to raise reading rates is building. Average grade school students should read stories at 125 words per minute. For average students in junior and high school that rate should be 200-250 words per minute.

A return to the traditions of our ancestors may provide improvement. Western education began and developed with Germanic university teachings. Until society improves learning, students will continue to face difficulties.

State collusion with business brings a loss of individualism. Freedom of choice may serve as the ultimate element of accountability and self-governance. People should have clout to close or punish under-performing schools.

Government regulators target manufacturers, shipping companies and banking institutions. They ignore unfair trade by their employer. The Federal Trade Commission should look into the share of revenue earned by suppliers to education.

Readers, writers and educators should be alert for independent opportunities. Materials may be found online and in the community to flesh out at reading. Only half of children in the United States read at grade level.

To avoid summer school, students are taking online make-up courses. Struggling students get an opportunity to work at their own pace. Full credit may be received for this fast and easy summer program.

High school graduates may be unprepared for college and the working world. In Palm Beach County, Florida, grades were changed by the vice principal on final tests for an online course. Some grades were raised from 0% to 95%.

Rigid standardization does not seem to stimulate learning. Except for a one-point increase in 8th grade math, achievement was flat or lower in the 2017 Assessment of Education Progress, or Nation's Report Card.

Parents in the United States may want to put greater faith in home programs. Public schools may be inflating graduation rates and teaching students to answer specific questions.

Free-thinking does not develop with nominal education. This may be convenient for the bureaucracy, but it does not build communications or connect students with their world. With marketplace apathy, only the dominant players grow.