Gosh, Is There Anything Bush Can’t Do?

Now he’s responsible for ignorant teenagers:

… President Bush’s education law, No Child Left Behind, has impoverished public school curriculums by holding schools accountable for student scores on annual tests in reading and mathematics, but in no other subjects.

Really, what are these people going to do when Utopia fails to arrive next January 20th? What happens when you think all the world’s problems (and solutions) come from the White House?

11 thoughts on “Gosh, Is There Anything Bush Can’t Do?”

  1. I believe the thrust of the study is that very few students–including college grads–know the history of their own country etc and that there is no accountability for what students should or do know when they get tons of federal money for education. Call me old fashiled but it is nice to know when the Civil War took place etc…
    I know: let’s blame it all on the teacher unions.

  2. It’s not unreasonable to focus on reading and math: these two skills are enablers of learning in other subjects. How much could one really learn about the Civil War, for example, if he couldn’t read or could read only with great difficulty?

    In business, one sometimes encounters people who object to any effort to fix a problem or pursue an opportunity on the grounds that there are *other* problems or opportunities that the effort doesn’t address. If you’re trying to cut the cycle time on custom orders, they will complain that this doesn’t do anything to enhance brand awareness. If you’re doing an ad program to enhance brand awareness, they will object that it doesn’t help to reduce cost of goods sold. And so on ad infinitum. Nothing can be fixed, in their view, unless everything can be fixed.

  3. Since I have some background in the teaching game, let me make a simple suggestion to change education in the US:
    close down all “schools of education” within our universities.
    Those who know this game will recognize what I am saying

  4. From the article: “Fewer than half of American teenagers who were asked basic history and literature questions in a phone survey

    Folks I don’t know how well you remember your teenage years, or whether you have any of them around your house, but, this is a research design that was guaranteed to come up with the answer that it came up with.

    If a wrong answer to a question, does not have immediate and painful life-threatening consequences (most especially social ostracism), anyone who expects a correct answer to the question from a teenager is asking for trouble.

    I have no doubt that the American education system is not very good. But this is not the way to discern its strengths and weaknesses.

  5. I would not go quite as far as Fred as administrators do need to know the arcane points of school finance law, Federal regulations and similar legal matters but in terms of contributing to preparing future teachers to teach anything well, Colleges of Ed have a record several orders of magnitude below dismal.

    Primarily they exist as cash cows for universities and to keep the states supplied with a large surplus of minimally qualified ( College of Ed GPA requirements are typically the lowest at any given university) warm bodies. No one should be in a classroom who does not have at least a bachelor’s degree in a real content field, IMHO.

  6. By requiring a subject matter major for upper level teaching and requiring two semesters of American history and American government for all college graduates (including 2-year ones), Texas has been trying. Requiring a course of economics in high school hasn’t been a bad idea either. I have little sympathy in that “it’s requiring us to teach to the test” bull. No one ever said you couldn’t teach them more, for God’s sake. It just said you need to give them some basic mastery on which to build. This is hardly utopia, but at least some of the moves are in the right direction.

  7. I do like the implication in the quote that children who cannot read well can nevertheless learn other subjects well enough to compensate for being illiterate. Exactly what are they teaching that children can master it without cracking a book?

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