A gentleman of about my age, or more, recently commented on a recent post on education.
I have either the advantage, or the dis-advantage, of having my sons later in life. The question was asked, "Could it be that most teachers are good, but are expending much of their energy shielding themselves from counterproductive directives (not to mention counterproductive course content they have to teach)?"
There was a condition in this comment, that the possible lack of time spent on positive teaching was being wasted through the time available, due to administrative constraints. And the answer is yes, increased administration means additional time spent validating that additional constraint; either through the increased administration's efforts to improve the task of education through increased administration, or, through the externally imposed rules and regulations concomitant with such an increased administration, whether necessary or not. One of the rules of bureaucracy is defined as, first defend you job.
It is not, in my experience, the role of the new administrator to immediately turn toward those who gave him his position, in order to criticise those who had created his new position.
Which is one of the reasons why I've been, and continue to be, a terrible employee.
I've lived through departments that have increased the number of administrators. The necessary goal of any department has been to deliver the requirements of the enterprise, as efficiently and with the lowest cost possible. Whenever you add an additional level of administration, two things occur; one, simple answers become no longer simple, and two, questioning the value of the additional layer of administration is tantamount to questioning the whole enterprise. In answer to the commentated questions, both of those objections are true, they create inefficiencies, but completely miss the point. Which is, again, contained in the referenced comment, to wit:
"The teachers I know personally are upstanding people who are constantly being pestered by administration goals that frustrate rather than facilitate students learning how to think and to become good at the basic educational tools.
"They are constantly having to shield their educational and moral values from the prying eye and stomping foot of administrators."
The efforts of administration are rarely about increased efficiencies. In my experience, there are other reasons for increasing the number of administrators available for any enterprise, but the most important is, to provide a layer between the head of an enterprise from the success or failure of that enterprise.
Education is one of the greatest failures of America in modern times; and the levels of administration are epic. Let's begin with the simple K-5 or -6 grade school. How difficult should it be to teach a child how to read, to write and to perform basic tasks of arithmetic? Unless the child has severe difficulties, being able to count to an hundred should be a simple task. Recognizing ones native alphabet should also fall into the realm of simple task. Framing a simple sentence in speech, or through writing, should again, be a simple task. If we, as a nation, could simply realize this simple goal with every child, education would leap forward. But we do not, either as a local school district, or as a nation, require that every child who passes through five or six years of education, meet these simple goals. Give a man or woman these skills, and all else follows.
But that system that has created hundreds upon thousands of administrators is still searching for the solution the problem of simple math, reading, writing and speech. Every possible excuse has been given, but no possible solutions have been offered. And with every unspoken solution, comes another cadre of administrators and experts who will expound upon the problems facing our nation's teachers, in the face of inadequate resources and low levels of pay. Never is the problem of education relegated to those who are responsible for their children's education, the parents. And, systemically, it can't address the basic problem, for billions of dollars are dedicated to a problem that is simply addressable by asking the question of a child's performance, or lack of performance, to the person or persons directly responsible for a child's performance; the parent(s). Instead, in the practice of the countries that have never recognized the rights of the individual, the Europeans, we have adopted the visions and policies of the Europeans as being more open to diversity, shielding the individual from the failures of the individual, and never asking for the individual, or the parents of the individual, to be responsible for the success or failure of the child.
Increased administration is the curse of the European mind. Never, in any land in Europe, has the individual ever had the type or quality of individual liberty that we've had in this country. Looking toward Europe for answers is looking backward. Examples abound. Take wind power. Holland has had this for years. Hardly a new, innovative process. Rail works for countries whose living standards are so low, that independent travel isn't possible. Backward engineering to construct a Europe within the states of the United States in counter-intuitive on many levels, but we find ourselves arguing with an elitist class that has determined that being more like Europeans is better than being Americans. But nothing in the data would support such an hypothesis. Europeans have never, and probably never will, ever respect the liberty of the individual. Europeans will never allow that the individual is responsible for his own, or for his family's, success. Europeans will never have the strength to stand up to tyranny, since the history of Europe has always been one of negotiating with tyranny.
What is the value of Liberty? It is the highest of all human values. There is no replacement for your individual liberty. There has been no other nation on the face of this earth that has ever experienced human liberty. Rejoice in Liberty.
And reject the Leftist notions that adopting European styles of politics is a move forward. Would you rather have the conditions for your life imposed upon you, or discovered by you?
Innovation, true innovation, cannot be imposed. Even with government subsidies. But, liberty and freedom will allow you to go places we've never traveled before. I don't want to be a member of a Greater European Union.
The curriculum being taught in our schools today never mention the values of liberty and independence. Go to a local school and ask to see their U.S. History text. If they give you a copy, you won't see these values mentioned, or, if mentioned, championed. The values of Liberty and Independence are not promoted, not explained, not mentioned. But the Left, and the motor of Leftist politics, the Teachers' Union wouldn't teach it, even if included. You see, individual liberty is selfish, somehow, in their Morlock logic, taking care of yourself is less efficient that having someone take care of you. There is no need for an additional administrator. And without sufficient oversight, you might end up doing something that doesn't match their values.
And the imposition of correct values is, and has been, the sole force behind European politics since we started writing about European politics. So, I'd suggest we wonder who it was that suggest we avoid foreign entanglements.
Could have been a bright fellow.