Saturday, February 19, 2011


      One of the giggest debates taking place right now,besides the budget is education.Not the curriculum but were the control for the curriculum should be.Local or federal,this is important because of the amount of money that the federal government gives to the state and local school districts.Ever since the "No Child Left Behind" law was passed the federal government has been slowly but surely imposing itself into what the school can and should teach.In the late 1990's the lack of demonstrative improvement in the education of both grammer and high school students brought about the hue and cry for a system to track the progress or lack of a child's education.Thus came the passage of the No Child Left Behind Law. Each year the students would be tested and those scores would be made public.If a school did not meet minimum standards for two or three years in a row,then federal funds would be with held and the students could transfer to another school.Sound reasonable doesn't it,but like most things the test is in the details.What happened was that the schools started to place the emphasis on teaching the students what would be covered in the test and how to take it.No longer did the school worry about whether or not if the students actually learned,but whether or not they could pass the yearly test.Fail for a couple of years and the school was in danger of being closed ,teachers laid off or fired and federal funds lost.The problem with the law was that the ramifications were not thought out,and such it was doomed to failure.Holding schools accountable is needed,for society could not tolerate an educational system that produced students who could not read or were functionally illiterate,or a system which had high drop out rates.Something had to be done,thus the No Child Left Behind Law.
     What has taken place was a struggle between local control or federal control.Now the problem with federal control is that like all federal programs they promote a one sizes fits all approach.An even the most poorly educated individual knows intuitively that a one size fits all approach is doomed to failure.This is why our founding fathers leaned to local control on most every problem that society faced.That is why the federal government was limited in what it was allowed to do,and the power of the state and local government was made paramount.This is seen in the fact that the local board of education are elected by the individuals whose children education they would oversee.The only problem with this system is the assumption that the individuals who were elected to the Board of Education would be educated and understand the need for a rational approach to education. This approach not only would extended to the curriculum but also to the behavior of both teacher and student.The major problem that the Board of Education had when dealing with the curriculum was not so much with the content,though there were major problems in that area,but in the way in which it was taught.The Board took the word of those who were intrusted to teach the students that they knew the best way to teach the student and that those who did not receive an approved education in the methods of teaching were not qualified to teach.Therefore those that were in charge of teaching the curriculum were allowed to use methods that were not proven to be effective.Combine that with the fact that the school system was hobbled by what they were allowed to do in respect to discipline in the classroom.A perfect storm as far as education was concern.Now we are faced with the problem of how to fix the system and how to implement those changes.What is at stake is not only the future of our country but also the future of our planet. For we cannot allow others to dicate the direction our world will take without or particaption in the process.This particaption will mean that we must have a highly educated population now and in the future. So just how much control over the educational system should be local and how much should rest with the federal government.I know what I believe but the question as always is what do you believe?    


  1. Ah. Sats tests by another name (
    The bane of teachers in the UK. Hated by parents and children. Loved by statisticians everywhere. How simple it all is. All kids are made equal at birth and everything that happens from then on is the fault of either their parents or the education system.
    I was bought up in a system where you were tested at 11 in an exam called the 11+. If you scored well you went to a Grammar school, were allowed to sit more 'o'-levels and go on to A-levels. You were expected to have a career or a vocation rather than a job. University education was a given, failure not to be contemplated.
    Once at Grammar school you had 4 hours homework to do a night on top of classes. You were streamed every year into one of four levels. level 1 was the top, level 4 and you might as well quite, you were only there on sufferance.
    If you didn't go to a grammar school than you got to have a life outside school but it was understood that you probably wouldn't even go to college let alone university. You might aim for a polytechnic (sub grade university) but it would be a miracle if you got there.
    Now we have only one type of senior school education although you can call yourselves different titles, the education is about the same. Schools are ranked in the media acorsing to kids exam results and parents will move house, lies and cheat to get their kids into a good school.
    My thought is that too much time is spent considering how and what the kids will be taught and not enough time and money spent on the people who will teach them. If we are being truthful, we all know there are bad teachers. The thing is, there are also very good teachers who do not reach every child. Kids and teachers are individuals. I hope that very soon the whole world will realise this and quit this 'one size fits all' education style. Each kids should be taught in the way that suits them best, each teacher should teach in the manner they teach best. Lets try matching one to the other. The internet and other communication methods should be stretching the way we teach not making teaching into programming children.

  2. I have found out over the years that if you dumb down your teaching the child will lose interest and will not learn.It is only when you stretch the mind and imagination of the child,coupled with patience and teaching the love of reading,then the child will blossom.Expect more and give them encouragement that they can do it,and they will. I have taught and tutored kids for years and have found out this is the key to success to teaching.