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Education, a silver bullet?
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As election season tumbles on, it is fascinating to note how practically every candidate, especially for governor, touts themselves as the "education candidate."

If you look at previous elections for the last 100 years, every candidate has been the "education candidate."

Despite this, Georgia has one of the highest high school dropout rates in the country, trails almost everyone except Chad in SAT scores, reports cheating on evaluation tests but still fails and basically lags behind in many education standards.

We even had a state school superintendent who proved to be smarter than a fifth grader — an honor to be proud of, unless you think the fix was in.

Makes one wonder how bad things would be if all the other guys were not high on education.

The easiest excuse is to suggest the failure is the fault of teachers, but this is fantasy and spurious. Certainly there are lousy teaches and they should be cashiered. Every profession has bums and slackers but this is an extreme minority and most teachers are not only dedicated but often go beyond the basic requirements of their job.

The idea of a broad-based policy designed to hold a teacher responsible for the failure of students to learn is a rickety foundation upon which to improve education.

The last time I visited an elementary school, teachers did as much herding as teaching. And trying to control high school students is good training to work crowd control after a stock car race.

There is no single cure to improve education but if you want to start with one — a big one — it is discipline in the classroom.

Schools need not be, nor should be, boot camps or prisons, but there must be a fundamental understanding that aberrant behavior will not be tolerated.

If a student proves to be unmanageable or continually disruptive, send them home with a note telling the parents the child is their problem and may return to school once they learn to behave.

This is when some parents discover the location of the school for the first time and go screaming to officials, demanding the child be reinstated and claiming the teacher has an agenda against the kid. Seldom is this the case.

Parents will also cry they can’t stay home or pay for child care. They should be informed the school is not a baby sitting service.

Sadly, some youngsters receive no parenting and these might be deserving of extra consideration. Still, at some point the welfare of the other 29 students in the classroom must take precedent

There is a basic understanding, even amongst the most dullard of politicians, education is the silver bullet for most of society’s ills.

But for education to accomplish this mission teachers must be allowed to educate and not be forced to deal with miscreants killing time on their way to prison.

Ric Latarski is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics and can be reached at