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  • Writer's pictureDale Dieleman

Education and the Three Rs

Updated: Mar 4, 2020

Has our California public school education gotten better or worse over the years?

Sixty years ago the three Rs, reading, writing and arithmetic seemed to serve us well. Yes, we also had history and for some of us there were after school programs ranging from football to music but the point is that our education focused on the basics.

After progressing through the various grade levels until finally graduating from high school, some went on to college but, those who chose not to were able to easily move into the workplace and begin to earn a livable wage. That doesn't seem to be as true today.

So what has changed?

Discipline is much different today.

Unruly behavior used to earn a student a quick trip to the principal's office and if a sincere pledge to straighten up was not forthcoming the principal was quick to call the student's parents.

Was discipline sometimes overdone? Occasionally perhaps, but that is not a good reason to do completely away with it. We all know that without classroom discipline even the best efforts to teach can be greatly hindered.

If learning is to occur the teacher must be the one who is in charge of the classroom and to achieve that, the teacher must have the full support of the parents and the school administration.

Why reinvent the wheel?

It is not wrong to look for better ways to do any task but we need to be cautious about setting aside proven methods for something new. New is not always better.

Competition through school choice

It is imperative to have school choice. Of course the public school unions don't want competition. Neither does the local lumber yard or grocery supermarket but competition makes everyone better.


Tenure defined here as "to give someone a permanent post."

Tenure in that sense is wrong regardless of the trade or profession. The natural human tendency is to slack off some if you cannot get fired.

Most teachers are hard working dedicated folks who care about their students. But what about the occasional one who really shouldn't be in the classroom? Parents should have the right to ask for their removal and the administrators should have the ability to fire a teacher, who in their judgment, is not doing the job they were hired to do.


To be a good school, whether public or private, certain basic foundational principles such as those mentioned above, need to be in place. Take these away and poor performing schools are the guaranteed result.

Our children deserve the best.

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