We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Nothing wrong with core expectations of elementary and secondary school if people can agree on them (but I'd go to the local taxpayers for that advice, not the national educational establishment). However, no standards can cause those who don't want to, or are not interested in or capable of, learning things in school.
He opens with this: "It's no secret that most high school graduates are unprepared for college." Well, duh. But so what? There's no crisis in that area.
I don't blame teachers or curricula or standards for the fact that many kids do not learn much. It appears to be the case in colleges, too. Pretending that most kids are natural scholars defies all known reality.
Education is not a "product" that can be purchased, any more than "health" is. Such things are not passive purchases. No gym membership can give you six-pack abs, alas.
Most kids aren't leaving high school as college potential -- no kidding. It would be nice if we worried about making sure they had basic reading proficiency and some solid arithmetic. At least their future employers could build on that for whatever specific job skills they're going to turn out to need.
It's amazing to me the focus put on making college 'affordable' via so many methods. Loans, grants, etc.
Kids complain about their debt. I want to complain about the increasingly poor education of the graduates coming to my office seeking work, but I don't get to. I still have to find the best of a bad lot.
Most still have a ridiculous sense of entitlement. To the point that I recently had to keep myself from saying to a new hire "shut up and do the job you were hired for, instead of complaining about the fact you have to do it." Because saying this would get me pulled into HR (a problem I have in the corporate world is the excessive power of HR).
I'm the first to tell my son that as prepared as he may find himself when he walks into college, and our high school does a good job getting them prepared, he is still in worse shape than when I walked into high school. He has not been stretched, or asked to stretch himself, mentally. I went to great lengths to eke out more than he was willing to because "this is all the teacher asked us to do."
So I know someday he may show up looking for a job, and I'm hoping I can get him to kick it into a higher gear. I'm not hopeful. His competition isn't all that tough.
As I've commented before, kids need vocational training throughout their school career. Unfortunately, the one thing the education system won't directly teach is how to study. It is apparently a survival of the fittest in education, if you can organically develop how to study, then you find your stopping point, or, today, they just reduce the curriculum.
For some reason the education field lost the knowledge of how to teach kids to study. Google up "How to Study," you'll find lots of web pages from universities that suggest students learn about their learning type, find a quite place, etc. But none with direct instruction with examples. Even advice on note taking is vague and near useless.
I love the main bullets:
Use your pen,
Use your ears,
Use your body, and last but hopefully not least,
Use your mind.
I weep for the future of humanity.
It is, perhaps, unnecessary to collect proofs that young people do not learn how to study, because teachers admit the fact very generally. Indeed, it is one of the common subjects of complaint among teachers in the elementary school, in the high school, and in the college. All along the line teachers condole with one another over this evil, college professors placing blame on the instructors in the high school, and the latter passing it down to teachers in the elementary school. Parents who supervise their children's studies, or who otherwise know about their habits of work, observe the same fact with sorrow. It is at least refreshing to find one matter, in the much-disputed field of education, on which teachers and parents are well agreed.
That quote if from a book published in 1909 that became the bible for education at the time but I somehow got lost in the "new education" we suffer from now.
How to Study and Teaching How to Study (1909) by F. M. McMurry, Professor of Elementary Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
It's not a problem of students not knowing how to study, they don't know how to think. As the Barrister eludes, students must be willing to learn and know how to teach themselves. Why do you think homeschoolers do so well? It most cases, they are given the responsibility of their education at a very early age. In our curriculum, by fourth grade the students are able to get through much of their work independently.
But to study you have to think. The first 4 factors of studying outlined by McMurry are basically thinking, in fact the classical critical thinking.
The factors of studying:
1. Provision for Specific Purposes
2. The Supplementing of Thought
3. The Organization of Ideas
4. Judging the Soundness and General Worth of Statements
6. The Using of Ideas
7. Provision for a Tentative rather than a Fixed Attitude toward Knowledge
8. Provision for Individuality
As for "school helplessness", it has long been known that teacher-fed classroom instruction is damaging to kids. They get used to being hand-fed that they can't/won't learn on their own. In fact, those kids who do have the learning bug get it stamped out of them when they are chided not praised, for getting ahead of the class or going off syllabus.
Also, sadly, as Bulldog relates school becomes a "job" for kids. One where they do only what is required and don't want to think about when they are off the clock. As such, school subjects get minimum attention while baseball, movie or other stats are known to the nth degree. (Sorry, I used some school knowledge off the clock there at the end)
I've been trying to come up with a bumper sticker from my readings. It's not there yet but
Teach a child to pass the test, they learn for a day
Teach them to order their thoughts and a tentative attitude toward knowledge, they learn for a lifetime.
"I don't blame teachers or curricula or standards for the fact that many kids do not learn much."
To some extent neither do I, but the teachers must be held accountable and the curricula (In my opinion) should teach the Trivium.
Where does the blame lie? The root of this problem is simply the breakdown of the nuclear family. If anything is to remedied, it is in the parent's power to raise their children the way God intended in today's society.