Wednesday, February 18, 2009

What good is an education?

I wonder about the education we give out children these days. I know some of the top schools in our country graduate students who are as good or better than any student in the world. Even some of our worst schools do a better job then they really have a right to considering the circumstances.

The problem is there are far too many students who are graduating without a quality grasp of the knowledge and skills they will need to be successful in life, or at least at a job.

Professor X writes a provocative essay about just that.

Some more interesting quotes I've read recently.

...but that the college degree has been substituted by employers for the high school diploma, which now signifies no skills or knowledge at all.

Diane Ravitch
Education week

Ordinary citizens need to be in a position to make judgments about institutions they can see, feel, and “taste.”

Deborah Meier
Education Week

No Child Left Behind, the biggest social engineering project of our time, put 50 million school children and their 3 million teachers under the gun. The law passed mainly because many people were convinced that low-income, minority students learn less than middle-class, White children because their teachers don't try hard enough.

No, it isn't, according to leaders in the science of testing. Scores always rise when you put high stakes on a particular test, whether or not students actually know more. This phenomenon even has a name: Campbell's Law.

NCLB: Is it Working?

The 'scientifically-based' answer

By Alain Jehlen

“It’s what you can do that should count when you apply for a job, not where you learned to do it.”

Op-Ed Contributors | Transitions
Should the Obama Generation Drop Out?

Article Tools Sponsored By
Published: December 27, 2008

Another term we need to consider—one that I hope we will be able to think collectively and publicly about—is “accountability.” 

A new book provides the occasion to rethink accountability. Written by Richard Rothstein with Rebecca Jacobson and Tamara Wilder, Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right begins with a blistering critique of NCLB and offers a more comprehensive state-based accountability model that includes a richer array of tests combined with school inspections.

American education that include basic skills in math and reading (NCLB’s focus) but, as well, proficiency in science, history, writing, critical thinking and the arts and literature. As well, education should address social and ethical development and preparation for citizenship and for the world of work.

...a big part of the problem with our national discussion of education, such as it is. It is dominated by policy analysts and advocates, by institutes and think tanks.

Mike Rose

My question is “how does an employer know quickly that the person applying for a job has quality qualifications?”

They used to be able to assume that a high school diploma meant the graduate was ready for pretty much any blue collar job and quite a few entry level white collar jobs. But now they have to eschew that and look for college educations. Like Prossesor X noticed some people with high school diplomas aren't ready for college and if they aren't ready for college they probably arent ready for today's workforce.


Of course I post this last night and in the morning my email newsletter from Teacher Magazine has this article "What Makes a Principal Great"

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