|NUMBER 307||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||AUGUST 2011|
Set Our Children Free is the story of a retired engineer who decided to give back by teaching math and science in America's high schools. He reveals his shocking experiences to inform parents about what really goes on, even in the "good" schools.
Sharing from his personal experience, Caruso details how little learning actually goes on in schools. With the advent of Political Correctness and Outcome Based Education, less and less is required of students. Teachers feel increasing pressure to dumb down the curriculum and ensure that every child receives a passing grade. Many students believe they are entitled to a good grade without having to work for it, and readily resort to cheating if they aren't interested in the class. Schools are full of students who refuse to pay attention or study, yet blame bad grades on their teachers.
According to Caruso, every high school student has the same major — sex. Schools are no longer centers of education; instead they serve as a sexual playground for teenagers who are primed by our culture to think of little else. The author shows that sexual assault, suggestive clothing, explicit sex education, student-teacher affairs, and on-campus hookups are all too common in public schools.
Caruso believes that bad behavior "may be the number one problem" in schools. He explains that teachers are rarely able to hold students accountable for their actions because they have no authority to enforce school rules. Teachers, afraid of lawsuits or losing their jobs, usually won't stand up to students who misbehave. Drugs, stealing, lying, and disrespect of teachers are rampant. Even if teachers have a good case, principals and administrators tend to take the side of the student or their parents to keep the peace. Typically, any punishment actually imposed is so meager that it doesn't induce any change in the student's behavior.
In the final chapter, Caruso offers practical solutions for reforming the public education system, including allowing parents to choose their child's school, allowing teachers to enforce rules, and creating academic and moral accountability.
Anyone who doubts the dismal state of our public schools should read the words of one who has been on the inside, seen the problems first hand, and is willing to blow the whistle instead of going along to get along.