Sunday, September 22, 2013

It's Not Just In The US

I doubt anyone would ever go for this idea, but just imagine for a minute how interesting it would be if, instead of curriculum decisions' being made at the state/province or district or school level, they were actually made at the teacher level?  The source of the problems mentioned in this story would be made clear, the choices placed in stark relief, but I genuinely believe there are interests out there who, for political reasons, do not want this problem solved:
Sadly, the latest testing data from Ontario’s Education and Quality and Accountability Office is unsurprising: Student performance in mathematics is continuing its downward trend for the fifth straight year.

It doesn’t matter whether your child attends a highly sought-after public school, or a not so stellar one: Chances are the school’s math scores are declining. The provincial government has blamed teachers’ weak backgrounds in math, recognizing that students need more support, but it has not retooled the curriculum.

There is an emerging and disturbing consequence. Families that can afford it are opting in record numbers for private tutoring, while those that cannot are stuck with the status quo. The result is a de facto two-tier system, though the government has undertaken to offer a quality, accessible education to all.

The current curriculum is grounded in “discovery learning,” in which students use their own learning styles to explore math. The emphasis is on problem-solving techniques, real-world applications and greater creativity. The problem is that students don’t have the basics on which to build.
Common Core implementation, anyone?


allen (in Michigan) said...

Not sure why you italicized "political" but if it's the assumed utility of the public education system for the pushing of views, whether you're a creationist or a communist, I'd say that's more a reflexive then a considered attraction.

If you adhere to an idea that you've determined is right but that generates a lot of push-back from your fellow adults the obvious solution's to make sure the next generation of adults grow up hearing about nothing but the brilliance and truth of creationism or communism.

Centralized control of education is the obvious way to make sure the minds of kids aren't cluttered with contradictory, and wrong, views. So obvious, in fact, that no argument can be advanced against centralization.

Steve USMA '85 said...

None that I can see.

BTW, the kool-aid really tastes good!

allen (in Michigan) said...

Well, no argument can be advanced against centralization of education among the self-importerati. Among "ordinary" human beings the idea's starting to catch on. Evidence the continuing success of foundational reforms such as charters and vouchers.

Up until the recent round of reforms education reform consisted of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic which suited the public education establishment just fine. Nothing of importance changed but the reforms were an excellent excuse to demand more funding. Not so much any more.

Being a perennial optimist I see that sagging faith in all things government spreading to other countries with some really smart leader asking himself why, if public education's inherently lousy, precious tax dollars should be wasted upon it? When no good answer beyond hysteria is forthcoming that nameless leader will determine that the absence of reasons for the existence of the public education system is itself a good reason to bring the institution to an end and enact policy with that end in mind.