"I think we're sleeping through a crisis," said David P. Driscoll, the Massachusetts commissioner of education, during a Washington news conference convened by the Department of Education. He called the study results "stunning."One of the interesting differences between those of us that hire people and those of you who educate, is I am only interested in the product. I don't care that the kid should know more, but you decided to pass him anyway. They show up in my life, I take a snapshot of what I think they might be able to do to help me and move on. I can tell you that SIU students aren't good enough, but maybe that is true across the country? It sure looks like the high school students aren't good enough either.
When you talk a step back and ask people if they think we are at the end of the American Empire, the results might surprise you in how negative people around you really are. I suspect we will look back at the Baby Boom generation (mine), their two family income greed, divorce rate and general lack of parenting interest (beyond their kids doing well at sports, of course) as a key moment in US history. The kids in school today are not getting as good of an education as kids 20 and 40 years ago. All the computers, calculators and other toys are not as good as having your parent care more about your school work then they do about America Idol, the NFL or their drugs.
It is hard work to discipline your kids all the time, it is even harder to discipline yourself. Maybe we will get a work ethic again if we go through another depression? Maybe our scientists will deliver unlimited clean power and everyone will have everything they want? It maybe time to reread the Foundation Trilogy and see that Asimov has to say about what will happen when humans don't have to strive to have all commercial goods. Hopefully we will not find ourselves in the William Gibson future instead.
Sometimes I wonder if teacher tenure is a good idea. Should you have employment for life when you do a bad job? If teaching standards are going down, does that mean we are protecting the teachers from excellence by securing their jobs? Not talking about researchers and tenure, but grade school and high school teachers. If standards are dropping, why are we protecting their jobs?
It is interesting when a reporter puts really facts behind what we all know isn't it? Kind of brings things into focus.
Your comments are welcome.