Sunday, June 25, 2006

Moving the Cheese Doesn't Help

Some teachers are always whining about how bad the kids we teach have gotten. These kids haven't gotten any worse than their counterparts thirty years ago. The reason they seem so bad is the education that they are subjected to. I'm old. When I went to school there were academic, commercial, general and vocational diplomas. Kids were not subjected to subjects like algebra and biology if they were not interested in them. They were able to study subjects relevant to their abilities and to their interests. They were allowed to drop out and find a job they were capable of doing. They did not act out and cut classes as much because they were not forced to perform at a level far above their abilites. In the old days students were graduated with degrees that meant something because the Board of Regents didn't try to prove that everyone had equal abilities. Although there was no express "NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND" policy, fewer kids were left behind. What does it mean if a student gets a 70 on an English regents and still must take remedial reading and writing in college because the 70 on the regents doesn't even guarantee minimum competence. The 80 on the math regents shows that a kid knows how to press a few buttons on a calculator and make some intelligent choices. We need to stop looking at the poor kids and look at what is wrong with the system that is making them that way. Moving cheese will not correct the problem.


NYC Educator said...

I agree with you that kids haven't changed. If you read Joseph Andrews, you see that people were saying the same things about kids hundreds of years ago.

It's terrible that learning a trade is so reviled. The fact is, people who do that can make a lot more money than teachers. Having no talent for it myself, I have a lot of respect for people who fix things.

Though I must confess a nagging anger at the guy who just charged me $195 to fix my treadmill.

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