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READ THIS about our government schools.

Before class each day, a high-school teacher in Indianapolis grabs a clear plastic bag and fastens it to her waist with a ribbon. The homemade pouch is a repository for phones that are either confiscated or handed over voluntarily by students who don’t want to be tempted to tap or swipe during class.

She calls it the “phoney pack,” and the magic of the makeshift vault isn’t that it keeps devices out of reach. It’s that it lowers students’ anxiety by keeping their phones in view.

Smartphones have long been a scourge for teachers and administrators, who have employed a range of strict measures to keep them out of the classroom. But it turns out that getting rid of phones introduced another distraction: withdrawal pangs.

Magic vaults and Harry Potter. Holy sh- Okay, to be fair, this isn’t just a public school problem. What we see here – and the problem is real – is the intersection of the death of education and the extremely addictive nature of the phones. Two-thirds of humans are genetically predisposed to mind control and brainwashing and that is exactly what the phones were made to do. The communicating thing is secondary if that (spying might be second). (Thanks to my Tom I. CIA research for that depressing stat!)

I have already started a good draft (possibly, probably for TPC) about the schools and the decline in teaching methods. It’s based on Gregory’s Seven Laws of Teaching and the departure therefrom. Here’s a pertinent preview:

Law Two. Keep the class centered on the lesson. Do not proceed without the full attention of the students. This is today, completely lost after maybe the fifth grade. So many years of command and control have turned off the child’s mind at the worst time – when hormones commence natural interference. Strategically, all is already lost. Tactically, more attention is paid to phones and games and other instruments of immediate satisfaction than to the lecturing or questioning instructor. Repeated Socratic inquiry is met with blank stares and grunts of “Huh? What?”

All teachers, in all kinds of schools, are familiar with the phone plague. In toto, this is the price we pay for accepting the gradual decline of society – to the pitiful point where 2/3rds would rather drool over a damned little screen (like YOU, right now! …sorry…) that interact with reality. The new reality is partly to blame. Who wouldn’t want to hide in digital la-la land?

But … the WSJ article is about the schools and with my kind of liking to do this, I’m going to pick one of the mentioned schools randomly for a standardized assessment. Hang on. Gotta go back to the article…

It’s South Bronx Early College Academy Charter School!

This is a newer public charter middle school in the great metropolis of NYC. I hate to pick on 6th through 8th graders, but I said random and this is more about the NYC schools than the kids.

Performs better than 17% of other NY State middle schools! And, that’s up from 4.5% a few years earlier. 20.84% average test scores. With 19% proficiency in English. That last stat leads me to think the inmates wouldn’t necessarily appreciate which great American novel gave us so many uses of the word “phony.”

Phony or phoney – not sure which is the worst problem here.

A little known fact: Holden Caufield, not getting the most out of Pencey Prep and having never heard of charter schools, homeschooled his four kids in the 1970s and 80s. True. Check your phoneys to verify.