Add Just One Thing--But You Have to Take One Thing, Too

Kids these days are so unprepared for college/the real world! They have no skills/critical thinking/knowledge base! Aack! I recall reading (somewhere) of a litany written more than one hundred years ago deploring the decline of the admissions requirements for some elite college. The writer was incensed that Latin and Greek were no longer both mandatory (possibly provided proficiency in one other modern language).

Truly, things are always already in decline.

I would agree, however, that there is a serious problem: a small portion of high school graduates are either functionally illiterate. That's just unconscionable. Another serious problem: too many kids these days (!) can't do math. More problems: no knowledge of how things interact with one another in the world, etc.

Most people would agree that these are significant ills. But what to do? Lots of people have great ideas about how to fix things... "if only they could add a class on estimating!" or "what they really need is training in life skills!" or "why don't they just..." Fine. I agree! But there are only so many hours in a school day (and only so many school days in a year [and both hours and days cost money, people, and you have to pay the dreaded taxessss to fund it-oops, guess that'll be the day, right?]). So: what would you add, and what would you take away to make room?


susan said...

I wouldn't necessarily add anything. I'd remove penalties for teachers whose students failed reading and/or math standardized tests and not let the little buggers graduate until they passed.

Anonymous said...

I agree. We have to answer the question: Why do we teach? Is the answer to perpetuate the graduation mill that churns out class replicants, or is it to help children learn?

Gramma Carrie Ann

Anonymous said...

I am not now nor have I ever been a member of an organized political party.

Grandpa J

MC Squared said...

Wrote memorization has lost it's appeal in America, but a few studies suggest that it's important to early brain development. I say we cut the critical thinking stuff from the early years and get those kids to memorize their maths. Everyday should just be reading/writing/arithmetic/recess. Throw art in occasionally for good measure.

You shouldn't leave elementary school unable to read or perform simple math, dare I say it, unable to perform elementary tasks.

Tom said...

You shouldn't leave elementary school unable to read or perform simple math, dare I say it, unable to perform elementary tasks.

Absolutely. I tend to agree that there ought to be a fair amount of just "stuff it in there" during some of the early school years. A lot of evidence suggests that kids of early Elem age are memorizing *machines.* Take advantage! Build a fact base! Then integrate and analyze!