It is entirely unnecessary to scrap the current embodiment of public education and "start over".
There will never, ever, EVER, be enough money to meet the demands of human creativity and ambition. NO ONE likes paying taxes, and there will ALWAYS be some amount of waste in any organization, whether it be governmental, corporate, small business, or family unit. Arguing about these points is a waste of time, and accusing public schools in particular of inefficiency is baseless unless you have specific hard evidence and are willing to approach the school board and demand a change. Both large and small corporations try new business practices, training, and research to try to make improvements. Only a fraction of these efforts are successful- was all the rest a waste?
The US has both healthy and unhealthy schools. Unhealthy schools need more resources to improve; this is just common sense. Sometimes this means literally tearing down a failing school and starting over (recently done here in Denver). No one is out to “punish” healthy schools. The long term benefits to the community of having thriving, safe, healthy public schools is lower crime, better employment, better health, better jobs, better tax base, better everything. In fact, I can't think of a single reason I wouldn't want healthy public schools.
If you're a conservative capatalist, with a LONG TERM view of the world, you will instantly recognize that healthy public schools bring more opportunity for profits from the market at large. To lobby against good public education is a short term, self-centered, self-defeating position that actually harms the market.
This is pretty funny. It's flame bait, right? "Reinvent" education? A terminology that sets the reader up well for the diagnosis to follow: conservatives and the religious are to blame. Exactly my thought. I am both conservative and Christian, and there's nothing I enjoy more than working to undermine my kids' education. After all, I have my education, to the devil with everyone else, no? It's sort of like drilling holes in the boat we are all in to best ensure that the liberals get their feet wet. I take special pride in the fact that the tax money I fork over for education is poorly spent in many cases. Doesn't matter to me at all that we'll all be fish food when the supply of educated adults sinks to the bottom.
Here's a different take on standardized testing: the pressure it puts on students who score in the 99th percentile. They already know they're smart and doing very well in school, but do they really need the pressure of a nationwide exam that tells them they're smarter than almost everybody else? It imparts an expectation of greater future academic success, and kids already have enough stressors and expectations of high achievement these days.
How much more money does school systems need to satisfy teachers union officials? Per pupil average the US spends more on public education than any other Westernized country. I say pay for performance like engineers in the private sector are paid. If schools produce morons, then their budgets should be cut.
Hmmm: how about "Standardized task, standardized student, standardized test." That covers the various areas (such as pilot training) where standardized testing will work. Of course, when you get to the edge of the flying skills envelope, a Bob Hoover for example, no amount of testing would qualify anyone: that sort of skill is just plain old rare. But that's not the issue in public schooling, where a reasonable educational outcome for a reasonable range of students is what is desired. And agreed, testing is of moot value. It won't tell you that you are succeeding fantastically: that sort of test would kill off the average student. Instead, it tells you that you've made a mess out of things, and incidentally, it tells you rather late in the game.
I was just trying to put standardized testing into terms that engineers could relate to. I'm all for standardized tests for standard students. For non-standard students teachers need more flexibility, and the standardized tests should be limited to no more than one per year.
I agree that there is a place for standardized tests, but the results are being misused and the value is grossly overestimated when applied to public schools.
The amount of time spent preparing for and conducting standardized tests is interfering with actual teaching. If we were to limit them to one test per year we might derive some value from them while still allowing for variations in teaching methods and ideologies.
None of the value that I got from my years of schooling came from standardized tests. All of it came from a mix of teachers who presented the material and devised their own tests to evaluate their students.
Cute, but… even if we were to devise and implement a functional synthesis at the highest levels of abstraction in a formally airtight language of the problem space at hand we would still have a moving target as to the physical platform, or parts thereof, for implementation.
The problem of teaching human beings from the beginnings of their lives to meaningfully contribute to a rapidly developing society with all its cultural immenseness is far more difficult. The problem itself is the subject of much debate and not all interests of all layers of society are the same. Some are downright contradictory.
Carno, your point is taken. However, standardized testing is appropriate in some cases. For example, FAA flight instruction is basically "teach to the test". Flight instruction becomes a repetition of maneuvers and techniques designed to pass the flight test. In the process, the basic skill sets are reinforced; responses to common contingencies are learned; and a consistent new pilot "product" is turned out in anywhere from 40 to 80 hours. But this technique only works when the subject matter is cut and dried: you really don't want innovative and curious pilots trying out new landing techniques at whim.
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