Articles are available for reprint as long as the author is acknowledged: Domenick J. Maglio Ph.D.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017


By Domenick J. Maglio PhD. Traditional Realist

In any group a leader rises to the top where even a group of peers playing games on a regular basis without adult supervision will organize themselves. Before the advent of electronic devices, children played outdoors and chose teams to play sports. They were not just standing on the corner only moving their fingers on electronic games. One youngster took the initiative, set up a time, made sure the equipment was available as was a venue and arranged for everyone to arrive at a certain time to play ball. This person was the leader, the person in charge. This same process happens when a teacher assigns a class project. One person takes the leadership role to insure that the project is done on time.

This informal or formal process exists in any type of group. The business owner begins with a vision, has the power to hire, fire and allocate resources as he or she sees fit. These powers are essential to create a team that works together to navigate the ship to its destination that the captain has determined. When the captain loses power a mutiny may occur. This is the same in any organization.

In today’s public education bureaucratic maze the power resides primarily in Washington, D.C. or the state capital, and trickles down to the individual schools. By the time it reaches the local schools the administrator, assistant administrators and teaching staff are all directed from above about their responsibilities. They learn the methods to use but do not possess the power to alter how it gets done. They have no latitude to be more efficient and meet the needs of the students in the classroom. These school officials have the responsibility without the authority to get the job done.

Looking up from the local school level, the individual administration, teachers or staff employees owe their positions and advancement to some important bureaucrat sponsor above them. The mission is not to inspire students, their families, or principals. Often the person to report to in the bureaucracy changes and so do the assignments, rules and expectations. Everyone in the system realizes the real power resides outside of the particular school.

The current mindset of the public school teacher is to control the potential classroom chaos and appease the parents. Many principals and their assistants evaluate the teachers on their ability to have the fewest complaints. The growth of individual students is not a focus in itself, rather only a part of a total class performance. The performance is defined by the latest fad and data indicators, which often changes. The data collected primarily are for the school system’s numbers to appear to improve, not for the student’s best interest.

This is the reason why the vast majority of teachers have strong misgivings about “No Child Left Behind”, and “Common Core.” The teachers quickly understand that they were relegated to robotic teaching specifically to a particular test. No longer is the teacher allowed to be a professional, creative person. Teachers were limited to reading and going over very specific material from the test practice booklet, using the exact wording, to prepare students to pass the test. This type of studying for comprehensive normative tests is more like a clerical position than a teaching one. There is little opportunity for the script readers to develop as teachers by practicing the art of teaching.

A teacher has to have the power to decide how the curriculum should be taught to become truly invested in the process of teaching. Being commanded to follow a script in a detailed manner is demeaning to a creative professional.  It is boring and a waste of time for the student’s learning. This “one size fits all” approach clearly demonstrates which students are the best prepared, academically, competitively and motivationally to follow directions, not who has improved the most. This high functioning group does well in this type of testing process.

When compared with students of the world the vast majority of American students do mediocre to poor. On the PISA (Program for International Student Assessment) the USA has scored 26th in math, 21st in science and 17th in reading, out of 34 developed nations.  This is even though the United States spends more money than almost every other country per student but is not providing a stellar education.

Present high school testing shows that at best we have a two tier educational system. The highest functioning students are well prepared. The much larger group of students does poorly regardless of the per capita spent. The public school establishment’s constant mantra “we need more money to improve education” is a farce.

What is needed are small schools where the principal has the power and authority to create high functioning schools. Giving local principals the responsibility to do the right thing without the power will keep our national education system as a second rate one.

Domenick Maglio, PhD. is a columnist carried by various newspapers, an author of several books and owner/director of Wider Horizons School, a college prep program. Dr. Maglio is an author of weekly newspaper articles, INVASION WITHIN  and a new just published book, entitled, IN CHARGE PARENTING In a PC World. You can visit Dr. Maglio at


Post a Comment

<< Home