We browbeat our children for 13 years of grade school, and then 4 or more years of college. The result? Not much. Education doesn’t work, or not very well.
Education Doesn’t Work
In this video, college students can’t name even one US Senator. They don’t even know how many US Senators there are.
In this one, students don’t know who won the Civil War, who the current Vice President is, or from what country America won our independence.
Here is one where college students know almost nothing of the Gettysburg Address:
There are dozens of these, where college students don’t know basic, everyday information.
Schools Are Doing Their Jobs
People see these and complain that schools, students, and parents aren’t doing their jobs.
What if they are doing their jobs? Think about it; school reform began in the 1980’s. Government keeps raising the bar. And students constantly improve their test scores. After over three decades, this is the result.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting it to come out different.“1)Variously attributed to different people, including Albert Einstein.
What if rather than solve the problem, school reform has simply exposed the problem. Schools, students and parents are giving us better test scores. It’s just that test scores aren’t education. So maybe we need to consider that as we currently define it, education doesn’t work.
The Best Students
Take it another step. Consider that these students in these videos are enrolled at major universities, they overwhelmingly come from supportive and affluent homes,2)Yes, some of these kids work two jobs to go to school. We badly define affluence. Almost all of these kids come from homes with computers, Internet, and more than one TV; compared to the rest of the world, these kids come from affluent homes. and that they graduated in the upper levels of their high school classes. These are our best students.
So how much less do the great majority of our citizens know? How much do the blue-collar workers remember, those who weren’t among the strongest students, and who have been out of school even longer than the college students?
Sowing & Reaping
Then look at our current attitudes, our dangerously radical presidential candidates, our worrisome social ideas, our uninformed ideas on industry and government, and our downright incendiary ideas about foreign relations.
We may not remember much from our school days. But I think all of us remember enough of education to connect the dots. I think you can see why I contend that education doesn’t work.
Education began in the medieval with memorize-don’t-think. In these videos and from my earlier comments we see that very few kids remember what they learn. And from all of this it is worth considering a novel proposal: the more they memorize, the less they remember.
Sheep courtesy of James Good via Flickr.
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↑||Variously attributed to different people, including Albert Einstein.|
|2.||↑||Yes, some of these kids work two jobs to go to school. We badly define affluence. Almost all of these kids come from homes with computers, Internet, and more than one TV; compared to the rest of the world, these kids come from affluent homes.|