Monday, May 24, 2010

What do Economists Know About Education

I read this earlier and I can not put it out of my mind.  This, in a nutshell, is EVERYTHING that is wrong with education!

I put this on facebook and one of my aunts, who is a retired teacher and one of the people who has been very against me homeschooling, actually said that with everything that is going on she is re-thinking her position on homeschooling.

This article explains how ECONOMISTS are now measuring education and learning.

"the percentage of students at proficiency — just 39 percent of fourth graders in math and 33 percent in reading — is still disturbingly low"

Hmmm, do you think maybe it's the TEST?  Maybe teachers cramming all of this stuff in is not working?  Maybe children not getting the foundation down first is leading to poor scores?  

My daughter was expected to write a 5 paragraph essay in third grade as part of the NJ ASK.  She didn't yet have the reading or verbal skills, not to mention grammar skills (she didn't start really learning grammar until FOURTH grade--but was expected to write a 5 paragraph essay in THIRD grade!)

Children are expected to perform at a high level, using 'critical thinking skills' before they are given time to be confident with their basic skills.

I understand that there were teachers who were not doing a good job.  I understand that they needed to find a way to reach kids in poor schools.  Believe me, I WANT every child in America to have a GOOD, SOLID education and every opportunity to succeed.  In theory, NCLB doesn't sound bad; but in practice it's like being book smart and being asked to teach a class--there is a lot of things you learn about teaching by actually being in the classroom, things no book can ever teach you!  I just think that these tests need to measure what a child at each level would REALISTICALLY know and understand.

I understand that we are behind other countries in mathematics and science.  But you have to also look at those cultures.  They are cultures that will take children away from parents and place them in schools, they are cultures of competition at all costs, they are cultures that don't relax, never take a break and treat their workers poorly.  They are cultures that observe longer school and work days, longer school years.  In order for the United States to take a leadership role in math and science, we need to SHIFT our entire CULTURE.  We need to sell this idea to every American.

And while I am on my soapbox, I think one of the worst things America has done to its' people is outsource jobs to other countries.  While it saved production costs, it ruined our labor market.  We have become a country that is more interested in profitability than anything else.  If we were still manufacturing our own goods, we would have more jobs and a stronger middle class economy, more opportunity for ALL AMERICANS.