Skip to comments.The flight of Education from education
Posted on 03/22/2012 6:48:18 PM PDT by BruceDeitrickPrice
Listen to any discussion about education. The main thing you will hear is confusion. Everyone has a theory. No one has a compelling answer. Worse than that, many of the supposed issues and their solutions are irrelevant distractions. They prevent everyone from focusing on what is really important.
Lets first consider what might be called The World According to Bill Gates and the Education Establishment. Their answers tend to be financial, administrative, bureaucratic, psychological, and even ideological. Here are a few of their many buzzwords: school size, class size, unions, tenure, charter schools, teacher accountability, vouchers, alternative assessment, equity, teaching methods, technology, new standards, ETC. There might be good in all these ideas. At the same time, I tend to think they factor out, by which I mean a school might have X, another school might not, and both could end up being equally effective. So X is clearly not what we should be talking about.
Now lets consider an alternative universe of ideas based on this premise: if you want to improve education, make it more educational. I think everything can be boiled down to an eight-word agenda. In the early grades, children learn reading, writing, arithmetic, and geography. After a few years, they segue into history, science, literature, and the arts. Thats it, eight words, since the beginning of civilization. If a school is taking care of its serious business, everything else will follow. You will have happy students. You will have triumph upon triumph upon triumph. Conversely, all of our present mediocrity and miseries have resulted because schools refuse to take care of their serious business. Its like a man marrying but thereafter refusing to speak to his wife.
The Education Establishment, it seems to me, is a factory for producing fads and excuses. The main thrust of all this activity is to justify the continuing reduction of academic content in classrooms, as John Dewey ordered a century ago. But facts and foundational knowledge are the very lifeblood of education. Indeed, facts are fun; and knowledge is power.
Kids are kept in school 1,000 hours each year, but somehow public schools manage to teach many of them only a few measly bits of information. Other than that, its all theater and illusion. Kids may seem busy, but learn little. Millions of American teenagers dont know what seven times nine is, or where Japan is on a map.
Never forget that this country has 50 million functional illiterates; and our students dont do well against international competition in any subject.
Here is a very simple example of the problem. I would think that all American citizens should know the names of the 50 states. This should be a requirement for graduation from high school or perhaps middle school. However, if you propose this goal in some public schools, you will be attacked in two startling ways.
Children, it will be claimed, could not possibly handle such a difficult and unreasonable task. Second, you will be told that children dont need such information. Both claims are laughable; and we should all fight such arguments whenever they are encountered.
(If children shouldn't know the names of the states, what should they know?? Pretty soon you are down to their own names. Probably there is a professor at Harvard arguing just that. See how it works? Less, always less.)
So, if you want to improve public schools, here are two simple themes to rally behind. Schools should teach more. Students should learn more.
The good news is that we have wonderful new technologies--digital, videos, television, the Internet. It would be so easy to design schools that are both entertaining and educational.
The great achievement of our Education Establishment is to design so many schools that are neither.
For how to put the education back in Education, see "A Bill of Rights for Students 2012" http://www.improve-education.org/id90.html
There is no truth in “Pravda”.
There is no news in “Izvestia”.
There is no education in government schools.
Trying to improve public education is a waste of time, money and effort. A single payer system has never worked, is not working and will never work.
It's like thinking if you can just jump a little higher, gravity will no longer affect you. Supply and Demand - It's not just a good idea, it's the law.
Dumbing down education to cater to the dumbest kids is keeping excellence out of our schools and handicapping our brightest students.
Good for your friend.
There is the crux of the situation: they want a herd of docile farm animals, not powerful, free individuals.
The philosophy of learning embodied in the Trivium approach produces results.
It is **impossible** to reform socialist and godless programs. Impossible!
Give it up!
If you want more education, close the government socialist-entitlement schools and see that every child has access to a private educational setting.
Oh! And, by the way, dump the prison-like Prussian model of schooling. It teaches children to be compliant little prisoners.
For an alternative view, see http://StopStealingDreams.com.
I think you would really like http://StopStealingDreams.com.
From the link: “Stop Selling Dreams.com”
Re: Point #131
The common school ( our current single-payer and socialist-entitlement government schools) will NOT NOT NOT be fixed in a generation!
Why? Because it is **impossible** to fix socialism! Government schools are the very definition of socialism!
The only solution: Close down the entire system and begin the process of complete privatization.
You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. This applies to education as well.
Funny thing, I just heard from a woman last week who is writing a book about the Trivium. Her blog is here: http://www.nottrivial.blogspot.com
As for Stop Stealing Dreams, I tend not to trust so many soft words softly describing something I’m not sure what it is. Some of these reformers can go and on for a book and you’re still not sure what is actually proposed. At least (this to wintertime) you know what I’m saying.
For those still intrigued by the idea of reform, here is the latest version of “Protocols for Improving Education”—http://www.theopenpress.com/index.php?a=press&id=135468
Bruce Deitrick Price
i was working a school kitchen the other day, talking to a teacher. i asked what the “hot” topic for the day was. She replied, “birthdays”. I was left speechless.
Surprised to see an article like this coming out of salon. Are they getting a clue?