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Jay Leno Named Educator of the Year for 2011

Jay Leno Named
“Educator of the Year for 2011”




Whereas Jay Leno, via the Tonight Show segment called JAYWALKING, has done more than anyone else in the USA to promote the improvement of education;

whereas Jay Leno has highlighted the lowering of standards and the flight from knowledge in the public schools;

whereas Jay Leno has dramatized the need for more attention to hard facts and significant information; 

whereas Jay Leo has caused many school teachers and administrators to turn red wth shame, and resolve to do better;

whereas Jay Leno has shown many parents what exactly was missing in the education of their children, and that reform in the schools is much needed;

whereas Jay Leno is an inspiration to all true teachers and educators;

whereas, in all these instances, Jay Leno has rendered exceptional public service to the citizens of the United States,

he is hereby designated the Educator of the Year for 2011.
Bruce Deitrick Price, Dir.



Nearly everyone who stays up as late as midnight has seen JAYWALKING. For tens of millions of Americans, this popular segment provides a frame of reference for discussing what has befallen the country’s public schools.

Top educators like to discuss vague theories, far-off promises and, of course, next year’s fatter budget. Who knows what to think about any of that? But when Leno talks to adults so poorly educated they don’t know where the Pilgrims came from, where the Eiffel Tower is, or what two countries the USA is between--every viewer exclaims, “That’s scary! Our schools need to be better.”

Those poorly educated adults are parents, citizens, voters, and sometimes teachers! The thought that these ignorant people are shaping the future of the country is terrifying indeed. Viewers laugh, but they also SHUDDER. And therein lies the tremendous power of what Jay Leno has created here.

For the educators who preside over this wasteland, there’s no place to hide. Too much goofy ideology has permeated the schools. There are actually educators who think they are doing children a favor by keeping them dumbed down. JAYWALKING makes us confront this foolishness.

Predictably, our educators try to deflect criticism by mocking the messenger. Jay Leno, they will say, is just a comedian, an entertainer. With this award, I want to insist: no, no, no. JAYWALKING is as profound as it gets. Our future is written in those blank faces.  To our top educators, I suggest, give it up. You made JAYWALKING possible (just as you made Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? possible). And you should be embarrassed.

To all teachers, I urge, teach more. To all students, I recommend, demand more. Or you just might end up on JAYWALKING.


There are several articles on this site that, taken together, explain how our public schools got so bad that JAYWALKING could be a feasible comedy bit; and they further explain why Bill Gates and Norman Augustine, in "Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century," said that our public schools are a threat to the nation’s economic survival:
20: The Quizz (100 questions that high school graduates should be able to answer; or they should sue their school; see Commentary)

21: A Tribute to Rudolph Flesch
(why our educators hated him so much, and how they came to pick the wrong way to teach reading)

26: How to Teach History, Etc.
(an introduction to ergonomic education; ways to make schools more efficient and why they so often are not)

28: Tips for Helping Your Child Do Better in School (not psychobabble; this is basic stuff that most successful students already know)

30: The War Against Reading
(a sweeping, quote-filled indictment of the so-called experts who gave us Whole Word)


Half the things I’ve written about education the past several years have included a reference to JAYWALKING. I know it hits home with people. Four years ago I ran into a professor from a local college who summed up her incoming students this way: “THEY DON’T KNOW ANYTHING!!” This sweeping condemnation shocked me, even though I had seen JAYWALKING many times. I was inspired to create The Quizz, 100 easy questions that every high school graduate should be able to answer (#20 on this site).  The Quizz was a riff on JAYWALKING and intended as a tribute to Leno’s contribution. This award is intended as a second tribute. Jay Leno really is doing more than anyone else to help education in this country.

(Note: people who go to bed early can find some JAYWALKING episodes on or on Enter: Jaywalking Leno.)

© Bruce Deitrick Price 2008-12