Pride in Gillespie country schools, but dismay at federal initerventions

By Mark Wieser, founder of Fischer & Wieser— This past Saturday, I drove out to the five country schools that were open. At four of them I found a friendly host, hostess or group of former students happy to share their stories of their schools. I could have stayed at each forever listening to their stories and marveling at what it might have been like to have had the privilege to attend one of these schools. 

However at the last, Junction School, there were no former students, only two park employees who obviously could not express the same kind of appreciation for the heritage that the Junction school had offered. In the background was an everlasting recording of LBJ touting the signing the Elementary and Secondary Education (ESEA) of 1965. 

ESEA was then the first of liberal politicians’ efforts for throwing money at schools in a false belief that more money leads to smarter kids. Sadly, today our students rank 36th among the world’s nations.

To hide the dismal results from the American people, the College Board supervising Median SAT scores simply “reentered” (lowered) them in 1994 so it would appear as if more were making suitable strides. Since 1964, scores had declined steadily and had become increasingly embarrassing to government officials. In 1980, the College Board simply lowered expectations.

Education had once been the responsibility of state and local school districts. Until 1965, the federal role in education was very limited. Today, the government is trying to increase its role even more so, despite declining results.

The next great stride forward is designed as Common Core. It is just another in an endless series of steps toward removing local control over what our children are being taught.

In 2004, 40 years after LBJ’s signed ESEA, a report titled, “Ready of Not: Creating a High School Diploma That Counts,” found that both employers and colleges were demanding more of high school graduates than in the past. In other words, those graduating were not as well educated as their parents had been. 

Why are our kids learning less? Perhaps the answer …


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