Monday, May 18, 2009

Why we are still at Risk

We've mentioned a couple times the 1983 Federal Goverment report A Nation at Risk warned that education had deteriorated over the previous decades.

The report is the source of this famous quote:

"If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves."

The report also has another famous quote:

"Each generation of Americans has outstripped its parents in education, in literacy, and in economic attainment. For the first time in the history of our country, the educational skills of one generation will not surpass, will not equal, will not even approach, those of their parents."

Ronald A. Wolk explains: Why We’re Still ‘At Risk’: The Legacy of Five Faulty Assumptions:

Our new president has looked into the abyss of our current economic, energy, environmental, and health-care policies and promises to challenge the fundamental assumptions on which they are based. He admonishes us to join him in thinking and acting boldly.
We can only hope he feels the same way about education policy.
After nearly 25 years of intensive effort, we have failed to fix our ailing public schools and stem the “rising tide of mediocrity” chronicled in 1983 in A Nation at Risk. This is mainly because the report misdiagnosed the problem, and because the major assumptions on which current education policy—and most reform efforts—have been based are either wrong or unrealistic.


Ronald makes some good points.

I'm afraid that at least for the short term government schools will only get worse.

I'm glad that we have the option to homeschool.

(Hat tip: Reddit)

Technorati tags: homeschooling, homeschool, home school, home education, parenting, children, government schools, public school, public education, education


Ruralmama said...

I think part of what's happening is that each successive generation has expected the school system to do more for them, like teaching kids how to "be nice", "not bully", and so forth. At one point in our history, this was called...get ready for it...."parenting". People just plain don't do this any more-they expect that between the daycare and the school system they will have 1-2 blissful hours with well-mannered, enlightened kids. Instead, because institutions are parenting their children, they get kids who are several grade levels behind, have a host of personality issues, and are unmannered brats. OK, I know that's very opinionated and that not every single child that goes to public school is raised this way, but when your child spends 95% of his waking hours with strangers who also have the care of 30 others like him, I think it's understandable that he's distracted, unhappy, and behind in his studies.
Why do you think there's things like National Family Nights? I'm pretty sure that even as near back as the 1950's Americans didn't need to be reminded to spend an evening eating supper with their children. End of tirade. :-)

christinemm said...

Thanks for this post. I am right with you.