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WHAT FUZZY THOUGHT WILL WE GET NEXT?

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Young people's gullibility level isn't near what it used to be. They have already learned to believe only half of what grown-ups tell them and only half of that again if the grown-ups are politicians.Have you heard this one before? "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."

Rhetoric fueled by deep philosophical ruminations and a six-pack, I suspect.Or maybe political ambitions?

Seems like every time I pick up a paper or tune into the news, another self-ordained expert on education is energetically flapping his or her trap in an attempt to get a leg-up on the "Schools Ain't No Good" bandwagon.

Political wannabes tell us our youth can't read or write anymore.

Anymore than what? Anymore than the good old days when they were in school? Baloney!

"Kids aren't learning anything nowadays. All they think about is sex and drugs."

Our lofty leaders in the rarefied atmosphere of the inner beltway should be experts on that one - what with the Paula Jones thing and Newt Gingrich accusing one-fourth of the White House staff of doing illegal drugs.

What's it going to be next week?

Pray! Don't pray! Who cares? But why does it have to become a campaign issue and why does my classroom have to be turned into a political arena?

"Let's get literature out of the classroom. Today's youth need information-gathering skills, not Shakespeare, job-force literacy, not Longfellow."

If that's true, then we can kiss history and geography goodbye as well. As long as we can dial up Internet, who needs to know where Afghanistan is or how Hitler came to power?

"It's OK for kids to read some literature, but we can't have them reading Steinbeck's `Of Mice and Men' or Mark Twain's `The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.' "

Why not? Young people's gullibility level isn't near what it used to be. They have already learned to believe only half of what grown-ups tell them and only half of that again if the grown-ups are politicians.

Education is the prime target for a lot of folks who seem to want little more than to see their names in print, so they practice up by saying intelligent things like: "Outcome based education will lead to the country's domination by liberal groups."

I learned about that kind of fuzzy thinking my first year in college when my Psych. 101 professor stalked into the classroom, slammed his book onto his desk and pronounced: "There are three communists in this room today and I want them out of here - now!"

Mouths agape, 30 freshmen squirmed in their seats at the disquieting news that our ranks were about to be purged of traitors. After all, at that very minute a senator in Washington was doing the same thing. His name was Joe McCarthy.

Our discomfort was heightened when the professor pointed to three boys wearing red shirts and called them "Dirty commie b------s." He stared us down for a moment before adding: "Now that you know how some people think, we'll get on with the lecture."

French educators have a wise saying that translates to: "A head well made is far superior to a head well filled." Think about it.

And as for the "those who can't do, teach," accusation, here's my response:

"If you ain't gonna' fish, cut bait." (author unknown to this writer) or . . .

"If you aren't part of the solution then don't become a part of the problem." (author unknown to this writer) or . . .

"Until you have walked a mile in my teacherly moccasins, stay out of my classroom." (Elizabeth Schuett)