Friday, August 8, 2008

Education Today

Today's post is not my usual everyday type of post but it is about a topic that is dear to my heart - education. I started reading a very interesting article in Newsweek about school size and some ramifications of such. As a graduate of an extremely small high school and a parent of children who attended high schools with senior classes almost larger than my entire high school, I dove into the article with great anticipation.

I firmly believe that all children should have the best education possible. That means teaching the basics - from the beginning. In my opinion, the most disturbing and destructive problem facing today's children is this new fangled idea of "teaching-to-state-mandated-tests". It has been from its inception and will continue to be detrimental to children's academic success. Call me crazy if you want, but I know that if children are taught the basics early and correctly they will be able to pass any test thrown at them.

Before I get too far off on a tangent, let me jump down from my self-righteous "high-horse" and get to the point. This Newsweek article lists our nation's top schools and provides supporting evidence of their status as quality schools.

The Article lists this year's top 100 high schools today, it shows that those with fewer students are flourishing. It also states that fifty years ago, they were the latest thing in educational reform: big, modern, suburban high schools with students counted in the thousands. As baby boomers came of high-school age, big schools promised economic efficiency, a greater choice of courses, and, of course, better football teams. Only years later did we understand the trade-offs this involved: the creation of lumbering bureaucracies, the difficulty of forging personal connections between teachers and students. SAT scores began dropping in 1963; today, on average, 30 percent of students do not complete high school in four years, a figure that rises to 50 percent in poor urban neighborhoods. While the emphasis on teaching to higher, test-driven standards embodied . . . Read more

According to the article, Public schools are ranked according to a ratio devised by Jay Mathews: the number of Advanced Placement, Intl. Baccalaureate and/or Cambridge tests taken by all students at a school in 2007 divided by the number of graduating seniors. Read more

Too many links? Oops, sorry. This is important.

2 comments:

Kay said...

I remember about 15 years ago when teachers told the administration that we needed smaller class sizes. We were quoted all kinds of "research" that said class size, unless you went below 15 (or was it 10?) per class did not make any difference. It was a long time later when they said research was now showing it did matter. oh brother. Why listen to teachers? It was so aggravating.

mom/caryn said...

Anyone who is now a teacher... has ever been a teacher... or has a close friend or family member who is a teacher is aware of just what a frustrating position they're in. They have so much responsibility and so little authority. That's never a good combination. More and more students are given to them and more and more work is thrown at them with less and less support from their school districts and less and less help from parents at home. And our children, and our communities suffer.

We all have reason to be concerned over the state of education. Great post.