Friday, May 13, 2005

High Schools Fail

From today's Courier-Journal:
Education Chief: High Schools Fail (click for link to full article)

Many American high schools are failing to prepare students for work and college and must make changes, U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said in Louisville yesterday. ......

.....graduation rates and academic expectations are too low.

...Nationally, just 36 percent of seniors are proficient in reading and only 17 percent in math, according to a recent national exam.

...About 68 percent of ninth graders eventually graduate, while the rest drop out or earn a General Educational Development certificate. Many who go on to college need remedial courses."

My commentary:
Spellings (grand name for someone in education, isn't it?) is in town to promote Bush's high school reform agenda. From my reading of this article, it appears that the plan involves raising standards, expecting more from the students and more testing. Schools not meeting their goals will be punished!

Spellings, Bush and others pushing this movement might do well to read the book I am reading by Dr. Levine. My reading so far says that it isn't a matter of teaching harder, working harder but a need to work smarter with students. In this book, he discusses how even with successful students in successful schools, we often don't produce successful "starter adults", those entering a career for the first time. It often takes years to figure out the right path to take, and tragically, some people never find the right career to follow.

I am interested in his concept that we ask kids to excel at all subject, despite the fact that they might have an extrordinary ability in one area and little potential in another. Yet, when we enter the work force, we specialize most of the time. Perhaps the Bush administration would do well to throw away the old school paradigm and look at how we can raise successful people (adults) rather than feed more money into a system that obviously isn't working to produce "students".

As for me, both my kids can read well beyond their years, and they are on level for math. Therefore, I must be doing okay with homeschooling.

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