Thirty years ago, a panel of distinguished experts concluded that US public schools were so bad they could be an enemy attack.
The famous Nation at Risk Report stated: "If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war.”
Thirty years later, nothing has improved. Probably the opposite.
“Nation is at Greater Risk. But everyone pretends not to know why."....A new Examiner article explains why our schools don't improve.
We are celebrating the 30th anniversary of one of the most famous educational reports in history. It said that things are really, really, really bad.
But guess what? Our Education Establishment has a grip like death itself on the schools of America. They are not allowed to improve. As a quote in the article indicates, we know the answers. We just seem to lack the political willpower to do anything about it.
That's close to the truth, but it's not the whole truth. We have the political willpower to fix the schools. But the Education Establishment has greater political willpower to make sure that doesn't happen.
Really, give credit where it's due. We have people in charge of education who (I would say for obvious social engineering reasons) absolutely don't want great schools. Every stat shows you that kids aren't learning to read, don't learn to master arithmetic, and don't learn basic facts about the world, this country, our history, or anything else.
Now, I'm not saying that the top 10-15% of the kids are not well-educated. There are excellent schools; and there are gifted programs even in bad schools. (But I often suspect the main reason we have gifted programs is to keep those gifted parents out of the way!)
So that leaves 85% of the kids who are mainstreamed at the same level. Not completely bad. But not good either. We always seem to be at about 23rd in various international competitions, in every subject. We spend more than almost everybody else spends per student. How do we manage to end up far outside of the top five? Quick answer: ideological fanaticism and hard work.
I'm afraid the Common Core will just try to lock in all this mediocrity, despite the impressive talk about new and improved "standards."
Suppose a football team announces that in the next season there will be a new standard: all players will run the hundred in 9.2. That's the standard. Which is absolutely not the same thing as saying that anybody can actually do it.
This is one thing our Education Establishment has been absolutely brilliant at throughout the past century: PAINTING THE PRETTY PICTURE.
It's like one of those billboards for a new housing development – everything is so beautiful – but somehow the development is never built and there is just a pretty billboard standing out forlornly on the highway.
At this moment the Common Core Crowd is painting a beautiful picture of all the new things your schools will do. The standards have been announced! What could be the problem?
Surely every player can run the hundred in 9.2. That's just a given now.
Similarly, every student will be able to read fluently. They will be able to multiply and divide. They will know that the Civil War happened in the 19th century. That will be a huge jump, by the way. All three of those things.
My point is, if our Education Establishment could do these things and really wanted to do these things, why didn't they do them for the last 30 years????????
Why should we think they will suddenly now start doing them???????
Forgive my cynicism. I suspect all the talk about fancy new standards is just a way of keeping our minds off the fact that things stood still for 30 years. Or maybe got a little worse.
New article is here: http://www.examiner.com/article/nation-at-greater-risk-but-everyone-pretends-not-to-know-why At the end are three related articles that might help some parents to work around the obstacles.