How Outdated Curricula are Failing America’s Students
Sunday, 20 January 2013 11:25 By Marion Brady, AlterNet | News Analysis
It goes without saying that solving a problem begins with a correct diagnosis of its cause.
When Michael Gerson, President George W. Bush’s chief speechwriter, had the president say in a January 2004 speech that American education suffered from “the soft bigotry of low expectations,” the simplistic diagnosis reflected and perpetuated the present “tighten the screws” reform effort.
That misguided effort continues. In the Introduction to What’s Worth Learning? (Information Age Publishing), I offer an alternative explanation for poor school performance.
*** American education isn’t up to the challenge.
The evidence is inescapable. Millions of kids walk away from school long before they’re scheduled to graduate. Millions more stay but disengage. Half of those entering the teaching profession soon abandon it. Administrators play musical chairs. Barbed wire surrounds many schools, and police patrol hallways. School bond levies usually fail. Superficial fads—old ideas resurrected with new names—come and go with depressing regularity. Think tanks crank out millions of words of ignored advice, and foundations spend billions to promote seemingly sound ideas that make little or no difference. About a half-trillion dollars a year is invested in education, but most adults remember little and make practical use of even less of what they once learned in thousands of hours of instruction. [Read more]