I would give our school system a B in preparing our children to join the work force.

I would give it a F, or D- at best, in firing up the imagination of school children to think creatively.

What are your grades?

Ex-President Bush seemed to give our school system a failing grade when he began the “No Children Left Behind” program. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Child_Left_Behind_Act.

Now President Obama is calling for “sweeping changes”.  I don’t know what catchy new phrase he has thought up to call this “new” intuitive.  🙂

From an article in the New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/11/us/politics/11web-educ.html :

President Obama called for sweeping changes in American education on Tuesday, urging states to lift limits on charter schools and improve the quality of early childhood education while also signaling that he intends to make good on his campaign promise of linking teacher pay to performance.

Having secured tens of billions of dollars in additional financing for education in the economic stimulus package and made clear his intent to seek more in his budget, Mr. Obama used a speech here to flesh out how he would use federal money and programs to influence policy at the state and local level.

His proposals reflected his party’s belief that education at all levels was underfinanced in the Bush years and that reform should encompass more than demands that schools show improved test scores. But they also showed a willingness to challenge teachers’ unions and public school systems, and to continue to demand more accountability.

The president said it was time to erase limits on the number of charter schools, which his administration calls “laboratories of innovation,” while closing those that are not working. He said 26 states and the District of Columbia now had caps. Teachers’ unions have opposed charter schools in some places, saying they take away financing for public schools, while supporting them in others.

Putting limits on charter schools, even in places where they are performing well, “isn’t good for our children, our economy or our country,” Mr. Obama said.

I has been 48 years since I graduated for high school.  I have no children in school.  My knowledge of how we are teaching our children is strickly second hand.  The results of one survey really bother me, the most recent, 2006, report of the Programme for International Student Assessment.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Programme_for_International_Student_Assessment

“The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a triennial world-wide test of 15-year-old schoolchildren’s scholastic performance, the implementation of which is coordinated by the Organisation For Economic Co-operation and Development.”

The US did not rank in the top 20 in any catergory, math, science or reading.

(Love, you Aussies finished 8th in science and 7th in reading.)

Unless there has been a recent dramatic change in how we teach, our classes are based on rote learning, memorizing stuff.  I believe we need to more actively engage our children. Evaluations should be based on how well students can apply what they have learned.  In science class, which seem to have become more like lectures, students need to be performing their own experiments.

Test questions should be essay, not multiple choice, or simple true or false.

How would you improve our school system, if in fact you believe it needs to be improved?

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