How can you be upset at the cretins in the House of Representatives, the GOP and the Tea Party, and all those mislead voters who supported these government zombies when there is clear evidence that this country is more concerned with greed, myth, and lying than it is with truth, critical thinking, and human values?
I have noticed that more and more technology is being used in the schools: Smart Boards, Tablet Computers, remote learning, internet access, digitized libraries, etc. Now I might be a technology geek myself but are we using technology to replace thinking?
I was schooled before the advent of pocket calculators and am adept at long division and cursive writing. When I was working in Newark I sat next to two students at a small café enjoying my sausage and eggs; one student had a Bowmar Brain and the excitement was epic. But a few years later I heard the sighs of students all over the state when they sat down to their math finals and were told to put their calculators away. Pobrecitos.
The results of a recent international achievement exam are in, and it looks like American high school students didn’t fare well compared to their international counterparts: 15-year-olds in the U.S. made no progress in achievement and “slipped from 25th to 31st in math since 2009; from 20th to 24th in science; and from 11th to 21st in reading,” according to the results.
The scores from 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) are about even with countries like Norway, Portugal, Italy, Spain and Russia and have remained flat for more than a decade. American students typically “hover at the average for countries in the OECD except in math,” where Americans fall behind the curve. Students in Singapore, Finland, and South Korea scored above the international average this year.
Experts note, however, that “differences in socioeconomic and racial composition among countries” could account for some of the disparity in scores. “The U.S., for example, has more children living in poverty than do many other industrialized countries, and 15% of the variance in test scores can be explained by socioeconomic status, according to the OECD analysis,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“This is a reality at odds with our aspiration to have the best-educated, most-competitive workforce in the world,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement, calling the results “a picture of educational stagnation.” The Obama administration has encouraged states to embrace the Common Core standards — developed by The National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers — for children in kindergarten through high school and poured federal dollars into helping states develop common tests. The standards establish the reading and math skills that students should learn at each grade level, but don’t prescribe a curriculum or day-to-day lesson plans.
Conservative lawmakers and Tea Party activists have begun portraying the program as a “federal takeover” of education, leading Alabama, Michigan, Florida, and Indiana to inch away from the standards and the assessments that will accompany them starting in 2014.
The Common Core focuses on developing students’ critical thinking skills and eschew memorization of facts, while the PISA exams “attempt to measure how well 15-year-olds in public and private schools can apply their knowledge to solve problems.”
I know that most Americans, and definitely most GOP and Tea Party supporters, are convinced that people living in other countries struggle through a primitive and brutal way of life improved only by occasional dreams of coming to America, but most Americans are just too comfortable with the myths and lies. But there is that time-honored method of education generally referred to as the Mushroom Method … keep them in the dark and feed them shit. I wonder how much of American education follows the Mushroom Method?
I’m sure the GOP wishes it was much more.