Sunday, March 03, 2013

Education Fail

I have two children who went through the public school system. Both seem to realize what a farce most of that exercise was, but one seems to be able to get over it and make the best of it all in a positive way. It's not that there was any difference in how each was raised or taught but rather a matter of how they were affected by the experience.

In my own experience we had a fair share of not very smart or good teachers, but that was balanced by some really bright and competent teachers. It seems that my kids got about the same balance in terms of who was doing the teaching. I guess that among the people I grew up with and went to school with, there were about the same proportion of us that really got something out of the experience versus those who did not. However the big difference today seems to be the size of the gap between those who graduated with real learning skills and confidence versus those with virtually none. And it looks like it boils down to the fundamentals of learning versus the touchy feely progressive view of education.

Since the public education system abandoned the old methods of teaching basic skills with fundamental of competence being required of all students in math, language, history, geography what has been the benefit of the redirection towards behavioural modification and self realization?

I always believed that we ignore the past at our peril. In fact this was something that we were taught well before advancing to secondary or post secondary education.The use of wrote learning methods may have caused some distress for delicate personalities but it damned well worked for just about everyone. In addition this system clearly identified where problems existed and provided for quick remedial action where it was needed. Yes, there was stigma associated with the failing, but at least they got a chance to do something about it if the desire was there. It also gave some incentive for slackards, lagards and underachievers to do better and prove themselves. The best part was that those who did excel were honoured and respected. That in itself was a pretty good lesson for the rest of the students. Sure, there were a few who felt intimidated by the success of others and made their displeasure known by their antics directed toward the "smart" kids. But that was usually handled well enough by the inherent fairness of the system and the even handed exercise of official intervention from teachers and the admin office. Even the most dysfunctional kids from the worst homes had a chance to excel at something. And, everyone learned to have a sense of proportion.

This seems to have all gone away thanks to the intrusion of political correctness and the efforts to build false self esteem that modern educators seem to love so well.

Now, when a student is failing ... it is not failing anymore... just an opportunity for a feel good exercise by the teachers to repair the and bolster the ego of a damaged child. Does the child get any incentive to actually do better?
Nope. Rather the whole cycle gets repeated tirelessly until the system manages to "promote" a dysfunctional child (successfully by their terms) or manages to undermine the will and confidence of the average student to the point where they give up trying to do better.

Of course the results run the gamut of possible outcomes, but the overall redirection of focus in our schools is responsible for a proportionate decline in the quality and competence of students being graduated. This is the exact opposite of the objectives claimed by progressive educators. In fact, you would be hard pressed to have achieved a worse result for our society by deliberate plan.

I could go on .... but that is about where things are for me and my efforts to undo the harm this ugly joke of public education has done to my kids.


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