back to skool

Sobering story in the NY Times today about how college-bound students are unprepared in key subject areas like reading, writing and math.

The Pew Charitable Trusts recently found that three-quarters of community college graduates were not literate enough to handle everyday tasks like comparing viewpoints in newspaper editorials or calculating the cost of food items per ounce.

The unyielding statistics showcase a deep disconnection between what high school teachers think that their students need to know and what professors, even at two-year colleges, expect them to know.

An issue artfully dodged in this article is the overbearing emphasis secondary education places on standardized testing.  And especially with mis-steps like No Child Left Behind that directly tie school funding to performance on these draconian tests, K-12 education has little time for process-based instruction.  So the supposed “disconnection” between what “high school teachers think that their students need to know” and what college professors expect is a red herring at best, for the very phrasing here implies junior and senior high school teachers have the academic freedom to teach anything beyond the core curriculum or accepted “best practices.”

Seriously, folks, when geography teachers are being placed on administrative leave for displaying non-U.S. flags in their classrooms, is it any wonder the children who are products of those same classrooms are largely unequipped to think critically and express themselves?


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