It never ceases to amaze me how our educational system has deteriorated and continues its downward spiral. Children are graduating from high school unable to write a paragraph using proper language, spelling, and punctuation. Then they go to college and have to take remedial classes so that they can then take a college level English class. This, after 13-14 years of education, if you count Pre-Kinder.
For many years it appears that our primary goal in education has been to make sure that testing companies make a lot of money. Statewide standardized testing has replaced teaching in our schools. Students are made to memorize information that will be on the test in order for them to obtain a positive result, which in turn gives the school a better grade overall, and facilitates funding. These tests are limited to English and math.
This, to me, is ridiculous, and not conducive to any proper learning. During these testing phases all other learning is virtually suspended in order to concentrate on the subject matter of the test. Additionally, this adds an unnecessary burden on both the students, who want to pass the test so that they are not held back, and the teachers, who are being counted on by the administration to produce results which would allow them to receive more funding for their school.
Somewhere along the line we stopped caring about what and how our children are being taught and have allowed the government to take over. Given the current track record they are not doing a good job.
The implementation of common core is another situation that adds to the demise of knowledge. Common core emphasizes lack of originality. It doesn’t leave room for an educator to educate. It is the McDonaldization of education, and the smoldering of free thought and creativity.
If you look for the definition of education it is “the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, especially at a school or university” and “an enlightening experience”. Our educational system is neither instructive, enlightening nor giving. It is mechanical, repetitive and designed to diminish the interest of the student.
Common core supporters think that having our kids take tests every so often automatically make them smarter, and we will be able to catch up to other nations of the world in terms of education. Given the fact that we are a superpower and fall below most Asian countries, Russia, and Canada, that is not going to happen unless we begin to educate our children not just have them memorize things periodically for tests.
Actual learning includes the practical application of what is learned, and being able to conceptualize what you know to be able to apply it in different ways. Presently only about 2% of students in America can do this.
While I’m not against testing, I think that it is important for the testing to be part of the learning process not used as a periodic marker of effectiveness. Presently we are losing most of our better educators due to the shift to common core, and their lack of being able to actually educate. In Asian countries educators are selected based on their skill levels, and are trained and provided with opportunities for advancement in their careers. They are encouraged to create and use their own teaching styles for better results in the classroom. Standardized type tests are given weekly of the material learned, not once every other year, forcing information to be crammed into the students’ minds.
Definitely changes need to be made from the first year of school all the way through high school if we are to have any hope for our children’s educational futures.