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.
The basic problem that cannot be solved is black genetics. They have low IQ's, are impulsive and tend to violence. IQ's in the black slums are probably down in the 70's. Young black males commit gun crime and other violent crime at per caput rates many times that of whites. The only good thing about the situation is that the worst blacks are highly segregated in well-defined neighborhoods, where they only harm one another.
Mr. Sykes speaks the sad truth, and conservatives have their education fantasies as much as liberals do. Liberals don't refer to it as IQ, but call it the "testing gap," and it has been present since there were standardized tests, essentially unchanged. In the cities especially, the brighter people of all races get out of Dodge.
American schools do as well or better than any in the world. We do better by our white students; we do better by our black students; we do better by our Hispanic and Asian students. We outscore all in apples-to-apples measures. There are of course stupid programs and ideas that circulate through the education world like viruses, but there always have been. Schools were worse in the good old days, but our memories are dragged through rosy clouds. Even more, the retrospectives of people clever enough to write comments on small discussion sites is not a representative sample of the people we went to school with, and what their experiences were. Every generation finds a way to waste educational time on useless stuff.
Assistant Village Idiot
From the link, is a compendium of what the ed schools have been teaching to prospective teachers.
Pre-K and kindergarten teachers are warned that it is developmentally inappropriate to seat children at desks, make them work to learn the alphabet, letter sounds, and math, or assess their academic skills. Reading teachers are told children will become better readers if they can choose what they read. Math teachers are taught that kids will be better at math if they are made to figure out their own strategies to solve problems, rather than learn standard procedures from the teacher. All teachers are told that different children learn the same thing in different ways, requiring different teaching methods for each, and that it is wrong to group students by skill level to instruct them in skills (because children learn best from each other).
The article then gives those teaching ideas a short critique.
These ideas may seem reasonable—as geocentrism did before Copernicus—but they have not held up when tested in the classroom. They endure because the public they harm does not know enough to contradict them, and because educators—unlike, say, surgeons and cell-phone-makers—do not face enough pressure to compel them to replace old ways with new ones that work better.
This is not accurate. The ideas presented in the first paragraph are relatively new ideas in education. For example, the Direct Instruction method had long been the traditional way to teach math. Here are your multiplication tables. Learn them. Here is a proof for the Pythagorean Theorem. Learn it. If you can figure out another proof for the Pythagorean Theorem, more power to you. That students are better suited to figure out their own strategies for learning math, as shown in the first paragraph, is an idea that has been common in the ed schools only in the last 20-30 years. When I was in ed school 20 years ago, different learning styles was presented to us as the next great big thing in education, as the new idea that would explain it all. Years later, subsequent research showed that learning styes was merely the latest education fad, not an well-tested method for improving instruction.
The problem is NOT "old ways" that do not work, the problem is wholesale adoption of new ways before they have adequately been tested.
There has been formal classroom instruction- generally Direct Instruction- for over 2,000 years. During that time there has been ample evidence for what works and what doesn't work in formal classroom instruction. The problem is that the ed schools keep coming up with the Next Big Theory That Will Explain It All. The Next Big Theory That Will Explain It All is what gets crammed down ed students' throats, before it has been adequately tested. Five to ten years down the road, it is discovered the the Next Big Theory That Will Explain it All didn't actually explain it all- when we finally get research evaluating The Next Big Theory That Will Explain It All- and we then get the New Next Big Theory. The King is dead, long live the King.
The article praises Direct Instruction. What the article ignores is that Direct Instruction is rather traditional. It is what has been going on in classrooms, more or less, for two thousand years. Direct Instruction was temporarily replaced by a new fad, but it appears that it is coming back. Direct Instruction is an "old way" that works, temporarily replaced by a new fad that hadn't been adequately tested before being adopted wholesale.
In 2005, 153,132 African Americans took the SAT test. ....If we raise the top-scoring threshold to students scoring 750 or above on both the math and verbal SAT — a level equal to the mean score of students entering the nation's most selective colleges such as Harvard, Princeton, and CalTech — we find that in the entire country 244 blacks scored 750 or above on the math SAT..
Compare that to figures from your high school senior class. For my high school class, 180 seniors and 9 w Math SAT greater than or equal to 750. Compare that to 150,000. The comparison is not encouraging. Yes, my [public] high school was an elitist outlier, but even so...