Sadly, education today is not about the children. It is about control, for profit schools and the push for agenda’s that will not only affect the lives of our children for years, but help to bring about the ruination of America if we cannot turn it around.
As far back as the 1800’s, John Dewey, a strong Marxist, was implementing his ideas as to how education should be presented to our children and how. Today, we have our Secretary of Education, President and those on the left following Progressivism, Socialism or whatever you want to call it, implementing education programs under the guise of “making it better”; “improving our education system”; holding our teachers accountable and “better preparing our children for their futures”.
Not so even your teachers will tell you! I have no problem holding our teachers accountable to a point. How can you expect teachers to teach your children and gain success when they continue changing the rules of the game? They change the standards, curriculum’s and fail to include the teachers in the discussions or educate them in the “new” ways.
Around 1996 we would see political will began to focus around some key issue for education, specifically, what sort of student should emerge from a high school education. Important to some, but few knew what was actually happening, large corporation heads began to become involved in education – people like Bill Gates and Louis Gerstner. The formed Achieve, Inc. which was formed by the nation’s governors and business leaders as a bipartisan, non-profit organization to help states raise academic standards, improve assessments and strengthen accountability to prepare all young people for post-secondary education, work and citizenship.
This idea might have worked if they had not lowered the standards, changed how they were grading and continued to focus on the tests that were to be taken rather than the actual education of the children. This was the fore runner in Florida for the “No Child Left Behind” program and a total focus on the “FCAT”, Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Tests. Teachers would spend more time teaching the children how to pass the FCAT for a particular year, rather than being able to focus on everything. Accountable! I think not!
Now they give us the “Common Core Standards” – written by David Coleman and Susan Pimentel (more about them in another posting). There are two really important reasons why this program is not good. They are not educators nor have they ever been.
One, there is no scope or sequence which is an important aspect of curriculum requirements. When a student is sitting in a classroom and going from one grade level to the next, it is vitally important that the curriculum requirements be tightly linked from one grade level to the next or else huge chasms will occur of which the child will fall into. In other words, if a student has not learned in one grade level how to use a preposition they will certainly not know in the next grade level not to put one at the end of a sentence. If they did not learn in one grade level what a participle is then certainly they will not know in the next grade level what a dangling participle is.
Unless the standards used increase the depth and complexity in a smooth transition from one grade to another, holes in the children’s cognitive progression will occur. These holes represent the lack of prior knowledge. It is the lack of prior knowledge that keeps students from proceeding successfully to the next concept. This is particularly true in the area of grammar and usage which are competency based. Some would say how this is important when they have fallen into a world of “texting”. Have you paid attention to the result of how your children and grandchildren talk as a result of a life of texting?
Two, another concern about the new standards is that they are only for Math and English. The emphasis on those subjects in No Child Left Behind’s assessment scheme led to a dangerous narrowing of curriculum in public schools; the arts disappeared in many systems, science and history and physical education took a back seat too. However, the test scores reveal our students are graduating without knowing how to read. In Florida, over 50% of our students are required to take remedial classes in their Freshman year of college.
I do not know about anyone else, but holding the teachers totally accountable for the progress of our children and the level of their ability does not seem quite fair to me when you have people who have never worked in education nor have they been trained in education, making changes and choices when they should stick to what they know best.
There is much, much more to this story and it will continue – – –