Tuesday, May 19, 2009

College Graduating Teachers Flunk Basic Math 

We have all heard the complaints about how poorly American children perform on standardized tests. We are aware that most industrialized nations score better than Americans on international tests, especially in math and science. We also know that high school graduation rates average around 70% nationally.

The key question is: WHY?

For 35+ years our educational institutions have focused on the child, the ego, the self-esteem, the more or less intangibles of education. In the process we have dumbed down our curriculum standards. Then we send people who never learned the basics, to college to study more empty material, and return them to the classroom.

Students who do not learn what is critical to know pay for this lack of knowledge when they discover that the real world actually has demands. These test results from the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education licensing exam for aspiring teachers are appalling:
only 27 percent of the more than 600 candidates who took the test passed [the elementary mathematics section].
This is robbery. We are cheating our children, parents, taxpayers, employers, and short changing the future for all.

What to do? Upgrade the education curriculum at all levels with content courses: real geography, real science, regular English, real math courses and perhaps, a foreign language. Extend the instruction time at least an hour a day. It is time we return to standards of the past - why? They worked.

The purpose of public education was to provide access to solid curriculum for all. When we remove the content and standards from all classrooms, not only are we denying the opportunity for students to learn, we are creating a society in which only the elite will succeed and by default, create an underclass that will not succeed.