Jan 30, 2012

ARTICLE: Average

U.S. Falls In World Education Rankings, Rated 'Average' 

The article is short, so I'll speak to the comments...

ninetailedfox: This is what happens when people allow fundamentalist christians to play with education. If we dont want to lose more children, it would be wise to curb them from doing further damage. 

Yep. Those darn Christians with their God math and Jesus grammar. You're making our children stupid!

MirageRF: When you find a student who is failing, you usually find a family who is failing. The student is a product of the home long before he comes to school. Show me a healthy, functional family and I'll show you a successful student/teacher relationsh­ip. 

Generally, this is true. Unfortunately, though, it's too easy for teachers to use this as an excuse to give up on students. I hate to admit it, but I've used this excuse. Because it never brought me success or satisfaction, I finally decided to ignore the theory and change my teaching. I need to reach the students in spite of their families.

kevinw71: America has the highest amount of children living in poverty than any industrialized country. Let's lower that number before we attack our nation's teachers. 

Poverty plays such a significant role in lives that it can't be ignored. Or, in many cases, circumvented. If you could get a kid to stay in one place for many years, you might make an impact. A school could design a plan to reach these kids and stick to it year after year after year. I don't know--I'm spit-balling.

Retrofuturistic: I hope this means an end to Creationism in science class.... 

No doubt. That should help with math and reading, too, right?

David Kenny: We villify both educators and learning. It is an American tradition. But even within the teaching community, the idea that measuring skill is somehow undesirable just blows my mind. We measure every other field of endeavor, but somehow we don't need to worry about measuring whether our children can add or understand the different states of matter. 

I don't think that teachers object to testing. But there's two problems with modern tests. One, testing is a business. It has absolutely nothing to do with assessing the students and their skills. Instead of allowing the people in the classrooms to design their own tests, states pay millions and millions of dollars for tricky, convoluted booklets of stress and confusion. Also, testing should never be linked to student promotion or teacher pay. Tests are meant to guide instruction. If the students do well, move on to the next topic. If the students fail, stop and reteach. It's so simple. Give the students a test at the beginning and the end. The end. Not April. Improvement is success.

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