Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Great Education Editorial

Everyone should read this Robert Samuelson editorial.

The quotation no one will believe:
The most pessimistic view of the study is that, on average, American schools do as good a job as schools in other wealthy nations. We're worse than some and better than others. The overall loss of economic competitiveness is likely modest and would be swamped by other factors (government policies, business management, exchange rates, the willingness to take risks). But a more detailed evaluation of the study - comparing similar students in different countries - suggests that U.S. schools still rank high in the world. [emphasis mine]
 The perceptive conclusion: 
For half a century, successive waves of "school reform" have made only modest headway against these obstacles. It's an open question whether the present "reform" agenda, with its emphasis on teacher accountability, will do better. What we face is not an engineering problem; it's overcoming the legacy of history and culture. The outcome may affect our economic competitiveness less than our success at creating a just society.
The statement Governor Daugaard will use to justify paying math and science teachers more than English, history, music, or art teachers:
American schools are hardly perfect. Math scores, though showing the same pattern, are lower than reading scores. We can learn from other countries better ways to teach math. 
I would guess that this last statement will become one of the holy texts of science and math religion.

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