Comments on: Let’s tackle the right education crisis Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: Ombasha Mon, 09 Apr 2012 04:29:52 +0000 While all the comments bear some degree of truth and pint at the many symptoms of educational failure the core of educational dysfunction in American public schools is in the antiquated and discontinuous policies and practices that hold the performance of public schools to the original purposes of K12 education. The schools still are designed to create workers and to sort them into the caste system of 19th century America. A system based on industrial capitalism. There is no effort to address the ability of students to improve the quality of cognitive development, in short “how to learn”. The schools are still driven by a desire to indoctrinate students about what to learn not how to learn. There is scant evidence that critical thought or human development are the purpose of a K12 education. The best that can be said of the current system is that it trains students to perform a job or task at various levels of difficulty or complexity. That would include the entire K12 syllabus including science and math. The effort is not to promote in students an inherent capacity as mathematicians or scientists but to acquire the information that constitutes math and science without the personal and individual capacity to be either a mathematician or a scientist. The schools treat students at every level and age as raw material to be shaped to the needs of an industrial society, not to develop as complete and autonomous individuals. In short we need a school system that is predicated on a desire and competency for human development. The worst that can be said is that the schools are convincing us that the purpose of life is to work. The real purpose of life is to live, not work. We are designed to learn and learning is the inherent purpose of life for human beings.

The system (K12 to the doctorate) has been corrupted by industrial values that evaluate human effort by economic standards. As a society we hold in contempt any effort to questions the assumptions that support the premises of the core curriculum. There is no inquiry, and further there is no pedagogy that supports the implementation of inquiry as a cognitive ability and practice. The deficit in the schools of education to engage the community in a pursuit of understanding rather than the embrace of dysfunctional epistemology. There is no knowledge without a knower and the practice of replacing knowledge with information is an easy but empty practice that seems epidemic in our 21st century corporate state. The schools have abandoned the idea that the center of a civil society is the personal responsibility of the individual for the whole, the polity, the community, the common wealth. The academy urges us to abandon that responsibility to our selves and our children and leave it to the oligarchs who now walk the ramparts of corporate America. The problem with the public schools is in the vacuousness of our own efforts and short-sightedness of our vision. We are being led by economists who would bribe our children to do better(?) on tests like some common commercial enterprise – that which they were naturally designed to do. The shame is that we have turned education over to the philistines in corporate America, the lawyers and the masters of political intrigue. Joel Klein couldn’t bring MicroSoft to heel and as a reward he got the children of New York City to chew on.

The purpose of education ought to be driven by human development not industrialist values and incentives.

By: zki Fri, 06 Apr 2012 23:02:57 +0000 The education problem we have is that we need to teach students how to think. Progress only occurs when people can see problems in a new light and then go about and apply what we have learned. If we teach to the test we only learn how to answer questions only using memory. Education is much more than rote knowledge. (See Bloom’s Taxonomy to see what makes for well educated students.)
Teachers want to teach! Let us teach! We should not prepare students for tests so that “educators” can say “School A is superior to school B” or that “My political agenda works! Look at the success we have because our students did well on test X.”
We need true educators, who understanding how students learn and how to teach as leaders in the educational community. We need to remove all “educators” who think that because I successfully completed my education I know what students need.

By: trevorh Fri, 06 Apr 2012 02:51:20 +0000 Ok, I think I need to retract my previous comment.

However, I just want to point out that removing the private sector and let the government do it is not going to solve the problem.

By: trevorh Fri, 06 Apr 2012 01:10:37 +0000 @fromfinland

You are from Europe and you don’t see the big picture.
The US is simply too diverse both culturally and genetically speaking. People have very different innate characteristics and abilities. Cognitive and academic abilities are just a few examples.

Trying to create a one size fit all solution in the US for anything is just too tough if not unrealistic.

In the US you can easily find a few genius as well as a few idiots. In Finland, my guess is that you likely end up somewhere around the mean as in most homogenous countries.

In the end, you need balance because if you don’t have diversity, it’s hard to have a healthy level of inspiration and progress. But if you make it too diverse, you end up with unsustainable if not chaotic social and economic cohesion.

By: fromfinland Tue, 03 Apr 2012 20:26:06 +0000 In Finland we have free education system, all the children go the same school and state pays it from taxfunds. We don’t have any tests which ranks schools. All are equal and teachers are very well aducated, all have masters degree in education or in subject which they teach. This has been said to been the key why we have succeeded so well. We have curriculum and it is nation wide, so if tou move from town to town you can have exactly the same education.

I think the promlem is in your society and you have public and private schools. American history is of course very important but every kid here in Finland knows the basic stuff about the geoghaphy, biology, history etc. by the age 12. So if you ask Finnish student capitols, they know. If you ask basics about the history they know but why is it so common that so many in USA think that we have polar bear here in Finland an d somebody once thouhgt that Finland is in AFRICA!!!!

By: PseudoTurtle Tue, 03 Apr 2012 17:40:42 +0000 Teachers aren’t the real problem.

It’s the underlying system.

See this article in Bloomberg:

“New Reading Teachers Should Pass a Reading Test” By Sandra Stotsky Apr 1, 2012.  /new-reading-teachers-should-pass-a-rea ding-test.html

By: aristotele Tue, 03 Apr 2012 16:55:48 +0000 Joel Klein has unspeakable gall in attempting to be a National Authority education after he presided over the systematic dismantling of education in New York City. Klein never taught a day in his life, yet he became head of the nations largest school system. As “Chancellor”, his task was solely to promote his and Mayor Bloomberg’s political aspirations. During his tenure, instruction was subordinated to generating high (and often fraudulent) reading and math test scores, which they could then trumpet to their own glory. This damage will take decades to remedy, as there are few young people sufficiently educated to become the next generation of teachers. Klein left NYC under a cloud of disgrace. Now he’s poised to exercise his “expertise” on the whole nation. I hope history will hold Bloomberg and Klein personally responsible for the damage done to an entire generation of young people, for their own aggrandizement. And God help the youth of America.

By: explorer08 Tue, 03 Apr 2012 16:52:21 +0000 The problem with education in America today is the same problem we have in so many other areas where American used to excel. The American public simply does not care. Not interested. There is no political will to do much of anything. Space exploration with its current demise, a very tiny tiny arena of concern, is symptomatic of that larger lack of interest in much of anything.

And, evaluating teachers individually and rewarding them individually most certainly will lead to lack of teamwork. I was telecommunications for 30 years I can guarantee you that is what happens when teamwork is espoused but evaluations are individualized. It is basic industrial psychology – – people to what they get rewarded for and nothing else.

By: carlo151 Tue, 03 Apr 2012 12:31:18 +0000 I have been to school board meetings and hear the school saying they need new computers, yet mu son would tell me they did not know how to use the ones they had and would not let students near them (8 years ago I hope it changed). But being a computer person myself, I really do not understand why they are even being used in schools at all today.
Every kid can use them or get access at a library. What they need to know is how to solve problems with pencil and paper. Also, they get too much computer time at home, they need to learn how to socially interact. School bully problems were solved in the neighborhoods, a school bully would have to deal with the victims older brother or cousin in the empty lot or the woods behind the neighborhood.

And forget the computers at school, a waste of money and time. Teach them to program computers, this can be done with the most basic machine and a standard compiler or even java script web window.

Drop standardized tests. It measures nothing except test taking. Tests are too easily gamed by rich kids or those with clever parents.

By: Fishrl Tue, 03 Apr 2012 12:15:24 +0000 This analysis, like so many I have seen before, is missing the elephant in the room. All of the problems you have identified here exist, but you fall short of explaining that the existence of these problems is by design. You have a former Bush Administration official proclaiming education to be a national security crisis, yet it was the Bush Administration that gave us the abominable NCLB law. The purpose of that law was not to fix the public schools. Its purpose was to destroy them, and it’s doing a pretty good job of it.