A veteran teacher in a Massachusetts school district is leaving her profession of nearly three decades after she says it has come to rely too much on standardized testing and data collection and not enough ‘hands-on investigation’ and exploration.
Susan Sluyter has been a teacher in the Cambridge Public School District for nearly 20 years, and has been a teacher for more than 25. Last month, she sent the district her resignation letter, describing her ‘deep love and a broken heart’ that she has for her profession.
In her letter, Sluyter writes that she can’t apply her knowledge of how children learn in an environment that requires teachers to be rated on standardized testing and data collection. Continue reading
America’s school children are falling even further behind other nations in the core subjects of reading, mathematics and science, according to a new study released this week.
The worrying data, compiled as part of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), found that the academic performance of 15-year-olds in the U.S. has remained relatively flat in recent years, while other nations have experienced significant growth.
With the results leave the U.S. floundering around the middle of the world’s sixty-five wealthiest nations, the top performers in all three subject areas were from Asia.
The high achievers included Shanghai, one of three educational systems in China that participated, Singapore, the Republic of Korea and Japan. Continue reading
The Department of Education spends billions of dollars annually, and touts phase three of its “race to the top,” but the sad fact is that based on testing results, American education is on a race to the bottom. We spend more than any other nation on earth yet rank in the bottom quartile (26th out of 34) of OECD (developed) nations in the latest international comparison, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).
We are paying filet mignon prices and getting Sonic Burger results, in other words. I guess the upside is that our unionized teachers have such great job security that they can hardly be fired once they get “tenure.” Oh, and the benefits and retirement pay are outstanding.
Naturally, Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, is calling for even more money. Continue reading
“The honeymoon is over.” Instructors who award low grades in humanities disciplines will likely be familiar with a phenomenon that occurs after the first essays are returned to students: former smiles vanish, hands once jubilantly raised to answer questions are now resentfully folded across chests, offended pride and sulkiness replace the careless cheer of former days. Too often, the smiles are gone for good because the customary “B+” or “A” grades have been withheld, and many students cannot forgive the insult. Continue reading
A new development in education is deciding what “literacy” should be in the 21st century.
With a swirl of technological breakthroughs all around us, elite educators are gaga at the plethora of excuses for pooh-poohing subjects routinely taught in the dark age known as the 20th century.
The National Council of Teachers of English recently announced: “Literacy has always been a collection of cultural and communicative practices shared among members of particular groups. As society and technology change, so does literacy.”
These people give good sophistry. Presto, literacy can now be defined any way they want. When these Teachers of English get through, it’s a safe bet they won’t spend as much time teaching English. Continue reading
A teacher from New York has branded education reforms and new tests for children ‘child abuse’.
Speaking at a forum on Common Core at Ward Melville High School, the unnamed woman blasted the reforms, saying that 70 per cent of children had failed the new tests.
She told New York state education commissioner John King that ‘hundreds of thousands of mommies’ were going to refuse to have their children tested because ‘mommies in New York don’t abuse their children.’ Continue reading
To deliberately deprive a child of a good education is a sin against the child and the nation. To abuse a pupil’s trust is despicable. To manipulate history in the classroom as a means to promote a political or religious ideology is diabolically unethical. To throw away teaching methods that work for practices that do more harm than good is a tragedy. To walk out on a classroom of pupils for personal gain is maniacally egocentric. Sadly, this is precisely what is happening to children in public schools today.
Unfortunately, most teachers join a union like the National Education Association, and in so doing new members must agree (pg. 120) to the union’s goals and objectives. In turn the union protects their members no matter how badly the teachers serve the students. Continue reading
In the world of finance, there is always talk of bubbles – mortgage bubbles, tech stock bubbles, junk bond bubbles. But bubbles don’t develop only in financial markets. In recent years, there’s been another one quietly inflating, not capturing the attention of most observers.
It’s an education bubble – just not the one of student debt that has graced the pages of the New York Times and so many other publications in recent months.
The problem is not that we are overeducating ourselves as many would have you believe. Rather, it’s that we are spending a fortune to undereducate ourselves. Continue reading
Across America, many urban school districts are on life support, and in some places, the plug is ready to be pulled. This dire reality is routinely discussed, but missing from the conversation is the ever-growing dropout rate in urban schools. No, not the student dropout rate, but that of teachers. The teachers’ dropout rate is a result of burnout after their ambition is crushed by a climate of cultural adversity. In other words, their ‘save the kids’ optimism dissolved into a ‘run from the kids’ reality. These teachers anticipated teaching life-changing lessons to the kids but ended up learning life-changing lessons from the kids. Continue reading
How parents and teachers are divided over the value of cursive in a digital age
- The national Common Core Standards, adopted by 45 U.S. states, does not include handwriting as part of the curriculum
- This spring North Carolina passed the Back to Basics bill, reintroducing cursive into the classroom
- State representative Pat Hurley said today that the move has caused surprise unrest
The reintroduction of cursive handwriting lessons in North Carolina public schools has caused surprise unrest.
State representative, Pat Hurley who was behind the move, told Today this morning that she has received a number of ‘personal’ complaints from educators and parents.
One father-of-two telephoned her to tell her that handwriting is a ‘total waste of time’, while a teacher complained that ‘these children will never use it in their lifetime.’
Before the bill, elementary schools were not required to teach cursive. Continue reading
Most schools today, both public and private have kindergartens. They have become an accepted part of educational life in this country and others as well.
This was not always so. When I first attended public school, way back in the mid-1940s, there was no kindergarten where I went. Although some schools undoubtedly had them, all schools did not. They had not become totally entrenched, although their promoters had been working on that project with much zeal. Their efforts seem to have paid off. Kindergarten is now as much a part of school life as the seventh grade.
I have, in the past, written articles and even a couple booklets, dealing with the origins of public, or government, schools in this country. These “institutions of learning” have a history that is never quite openly discussed in all of its ramifications. We often see the names of founders and promoters of public education mentioned in articles or essays, but we are seldom told all that much about these people and what they really believed. Most educators don’t want us to go there. Continue reading
Higher education is a vast industry about to face years a crisis. Like housing, it has expanded based on unsustainable debt. And like the American auto industry, it got fat, lazy, inward-focused, and expensive during its decades of monopoly on certification of higher end new labor force entrants. Now, with the growth of digital versions of higher education, it faces a competitor/industry entrant that has lower costs and high quality (at least potentially).
After decades of raising tuition at about three times the rate of inflation, the higher education bubble looks to be popping.
Philip A. Schrodt, who just retired from Pennsylvania State University after decades as a tenured professor of political science, has written a scathingly honest swan song about academic life. He is a gutsy man to do so, even on his way out the door. He is still living in the college town of State College, PA, and no doubt he will face some consequences for his truth-telling. Continue reading
30 years ago, Ronald Reagan called for the termination of the Department of Education. But instead of disappearing, the Jimmy Carter creation has become a federal leviathan with no signs of abating in growth.
Reagan’s Secretary of Education Terrell H. Bell thwarted Reagan’s and the Christian right’s plan to do away with the cabinet level bureau. Bell, an educator by profession, was instrumental in publishing a report on the national status of our schools. Bell had the National Commission on Excellence in Education, which he created in 1981, prepare a document in 1983 called “A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform.”
Like a small pebble tossed into a pond sends out many ripples, A Nation at Risk–through fear-inducing rhetoric and a call for more government intervention into traditional states’ rights–set off a movement in education which could not be stopped. Whether Bell took this action to save his job, or whether he differed ideologically with Reagan doesn’t matter now. The genie was let out of the bottle and we’ve paid a high price for allowing the Department of Education to have too much power. Continue reading
We wanted proof Common Core has serious shortcomings, and now we have it. A professor of Renaissance English Literature and the Development of Western Civilization at Providence College has begun the process of dissecting student essays promoted as examples of what CC strives for in its standards and subsequent influence on curricula.
Anthony Esolen says the best essay of the bunch has no integrity, just a mechanical spouting of information that contradicts itself. And this essay was subject to teacher reviews. The professor says his disagreement with the essay doesn’t have to do with organization or style as these are done well, but with the truth. He asserts that the more “mechanical” writing becomes, the closer it moves to providing an incubator for lies. Continue reading
The headmistress at a primary school in a small town in England tried to order parents to send their children to a Nov. 27 workshop focused on Islam or else have the kids permanently labeled as racists for the rest of their academic careers.
On Wednesday, parents of children aged 8 to 11 received the stark warning in the form of a letter from Lynn Small, the headmistress at Littleton Green Community School in Huntington, Staffordshire — just over 20 miles from Birmingham.
The letter describes the field trip as part of a “statutory requirement” for kids “to learn about different cultures.” Continue reading
What would you do if you received a threatening letter from your child’s school, demanding that you take your youngster to a medical doctor and dentist at the whims of the school administrators, or risk being reported to the child welfare authorities?
Parents in at least two states have gotten exactly such letters. Police State USA reports:
Under the auspices of keeping children healthy, the government has usurped the role of “parent” away from actual parents. The state not legal guardians is determining when and how children should be subjected to outside business influences.
The provisions establish that the state has taken the final say in parenting matters, undermining parents’ natural role in the child’s life as protector and final decision maker. The provision invades the privacy of the family by giving the government access to private medical results. Continue reading
on ‘white bread’ nonetheless…
My fellow Americans, the “subtle language of racism” you’ve been hiding inside your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches has been exposed. These biased and ethnocentric eating habits are oppressing minorities. Such intolerance and racist behavior can no longer be tolerated in our public schools. Shame on you!
The Portland Tribune reports that Verenice Gutierrez, principal of Harvey Scott K-8 School in Portland, has discovered this racist travesty destroying the very fabric of our society. The “seemingly innocent” peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a cleverly hidden weapon used to promote racism… Continue reading
Do you want your kids to be taught that the earth has too many people and that they should have no more than two children for the good of the planet? Yes, I know that this sounds absolutely crazy, but this is actually the kind of propaganda that is being forced upon our young people all over America.
The population control agenda is being relentlessly pushed in high school textbooks, in classroom instruction and by outside organizations that are given constant access to our high school students. As you will see below, the number one population control organization in the United States, Planned Parenthood, conducts nearly 900 presentations in high schools in the Los Angeles area every single year. And the population control propaganda gets even worse once our kids go off to college. I know – I spent eight years in the classroom at U.S. public universities and most parents would be absolutely horrified to learn what their children are being taught. Continue reading
Guy walks into a restaurant and orders “scrambled eggs and some kind words.” Waitress brings the eggs. He smiles, “Now how about the kind words?” Waitress whispers, “Don’t eat the eggs.”
Which brings us to the fact that urban public school teachers are about twice as likely as non-teachers to send their own children to private schools. That is, many public school teachers whisper to parents, “Don’t eat the eggs.”
About 11% of all parents — nationwide, rural and urban — send their children to private schools. The numbers are much higher in urban areas. One study found that in Philadelphia a staggering 44% of public school teachers send their own kids to private schools. Continue reading
The new national education standards adopted by 45 States and the District of Columbia (Arizona is one of the 45) and now slipping into America’s schools are a collectivist’s dream.
Called Common Core, it is an attempt to create a Federally controlled education system designed to turn children into mind-numbed drones devoid of imagination and inculcated with a progressive culture of redistributionist economics, social justice, the mainstreaming of perverted lifestyles, secular humanism and radical environmentalism. It is a one-size-fits-all scheme that will dumb down students to the lowest common denominator. Continue reading