Sshhh. Be very quiet.

Listen close and you can almost hear the heartbeats of some public school leaders as they hold their collective breath and pray the gods of permissiveness will keep the spotlight of scrutiny away.

Academic abuse

Still, the initial blast of the bright lights of public inspection settled briefly earlier this year upon buildings posing as academic institutions when Education Secretary Margaret Spellings declared a 30 percent high school dropout rate was primarily due to urban area "dropout factories" where students had a "50-50 chance of graduating." Even on the unequal scales of public education 70 percent equals failure.

But if you think that bit of news amounted to change (or even raised eyebrows), then you haven't paid enough attention to public education over the past several decades. Generational failure of certain public schools isn't accidental, even if Darwin is your god. It is by design.

The best part of the design is the manner in which it keeps constant captive the consciences of its cohorts in crime. And make no mistake &

the deliberate undermining of the education of our nation's youth is indeed child abuse.

Sexual abuse

But that's only one form of child abuse the National Education Association, teachers unions and district administrations across the country have swept under the classroom rug. The spotlight of scrutiny again shone badly on public schools when The Associated Press concluded is seven-month investigation, The AP disclosed in October the results of an in-depth probe that placed the public school system on par with the Catholic Church in sexual abuse of minors. The AP found more than 2,500 known cases of teachers involved in sexual crimes over the past five years.

Yet, not one authoritative entity existing behind the iron-clad doors of confidentiality exposed the rampant sexual abuse of teens that some legal experts believe permeates every school district in the nation to some degree. There are no conferences, political speeches or even the usual vows of change &

all of which are expected in the aftermath of such a monumental expose. Instead, what we hear is a deafening silence echoing through the academic halls of shame.

In contrast, if a shooting takes place on one campus, the sound of lockdown reverberates throughout every school district in America. But if a couple thousand teachers get locked up because a number of students got knocked up, the problem is regarded as simply an isolated public relations nightmare.

Calculated risks

It seems to me that anyone with a few alphabets after their name ought to have the cerebral ability to calculate the risks to students when a report says 10 percent of the "protected" students will be sexually assaulted by trusted authorities. Yet, evidence reveals efforts by school districts to squelch the truth &

which only exacerbates the problem and increases risks to children.

The public schools belong to the public. So, shouldn't efforts be made to address problems in a manner that restores public trust? Oh, wait. There doesn't seem to be any public outrage over the intellectual and sexual abuses of our children.

Apparently, its just me.

Mike's perspective

It appears that I'm a minority of one who thinks there's something wrong with public schools sponsoring social events within the context of condoning sensual consorting between hormone-induced teens while handing out free condoms. Apparently I'm the only incredulous individual wondering why religious secularism in schools (disguised as sex education) trumps relationship codes of Judaism, Christianity and Islam &

all of which relegate sexual activities to two consenting adults after they marry.

(I can almost hear the hordes of "separation of church and state" folks sending their misinterpretations of the Constitution my way.)

Perhaps it is time concerned parents realized that despite boasts of increased intellect, we're raising a generation of youth with very loose morals and an inability to understand right from wrong. We entrust their innocence to authority figures in our public education system &

some of whom are predators, some of whom are enablers.

And while the public school system does include in its ranks many laudable leaders, it remains a powder keg of explosive issues waiting to erupt. Its secrecy and silence regarding the overflowing cesspool of salacious sexual abuse of students is a constant drip that may eventually burst to reveal far more than the AP could uncover.

is a columnist, author and Content Editor of the Daily Tidings. He can be reached at .