Education At Risk
"American education will never be improved until we address a problem seen as too delicate to discuss. That problem is teacher philosophy and incompetency."
So begins an article by Professor Walter Williams. The complete article can be found at Inept Teacher Training . The article express' a concern that I have addressed in other editorials and comments.
The dual demons of philosophy and incompetency have driven the education system in this country into the ground. While pondering why 40% of poor fourth graders in this country can't read, consider this quote;
"Ed Labinowicz, in "The Piaget Primer," says that parental support of school reforms that stress basic skills are simply satisfying "parental ego needs" that "they can flaunt before their neighbors" that "have little to do with children's best interests." Translation: Parents who want basic skills and traditional values for their children are seen as education obstructionists."
There are other quotes like this in the article which paints a very dismal picture of education and educators in this country. One that I find particularly insidious is this one from a text used at San Francisco State University, "About Teaching Mathematics." by Marilyn Burns:
"There is no place for requiring students to practice tedious calculations that are more efficiently and accurately done by using calculators." Instruction "should not aim toward an answer-oriented curriculum," but toward one that values a "reasoning process."
How does one develop a reasoning process if you don't work through the problem to obtain the correct answer? More importantly, how can you gauge the success of your reasoning process without obtaining the correct answer? And if the answer is wrong, then the reasoning process must have broken down so you reevaluate (reason thru) the problem and attempt again to find the correct answer. Only upon obtaining the correct answer can you be assured that the reasoning process was correct.
Now I would guess that Ms. Burns is a PhD as she is writing text books for university level instruction. The question is why would someone who is supposedly at the top of the education food chain make such a ridiculous assertion?
So why are educators and educators of educators so tied up in a philosophy that cherishes "reason" and "feelings" over academics? They are protecting their backsides, CYA! Ever since the onslaught of the "New Math" educators have risen through the ranks of their profession by coming up with "new and better" ways to educate our children.
Do you really think that someone that has invested their entire adult life inventing some new educational "program" is going to stand up after 20-25 years and say, "Well that didn't work out like I thought it would."
Not only would he be cutting his own throat professionally but all of those that he taught his method would be summarily flushed. They will cover each other forever. The academians are as tight a knit group as our elitist legislators. Change isn't just going to happen, we have to make it happen.
Mr. and Mrs. America, your children are in the hands of liberal elitist. Their agenda is equality of output and it matters not to them that the output is geared to the lowest common denominator. In fact that is what they want. This is not conspiracy theory, it is fact.
Professor Williams ends his article with;
"President Bush, the Congress and state legislators handing over more money to the education establishment will do nothing to end America's education rot. More money will simply spread it. As to teacher training, what's needed is for teachers to have degrees in the subject they teach and maybe a class or two in pedagogy. For this, schools of education are surely not needed."
I agree! Add to that Accountability. Accountability to we the people for fiscal, philosophical and academics is essential. And unless or until we stand up and demand change; real, meaningful change, we will get what we deserve. The further loss of liberty and freedom.