17
Jun
06

It’s About Time

This is a case of, “right idea, wrong way to go about it”. Our Secretary of Education is traveling to other countries to find a way to change the shape of US education policy. Though Spellings is not the first person in this office to do so, it does seem that she’s traveling quite a bit more, and often to countries that have nothing to offer us academically.

I agree that we have a lot to learn from certain countries about education, especially if we want our children to be able to compete on a global scale, but some of the ones Spellings is traveling to leave a lot to be desired, and open her up to the criticism that it’s all just PR. England’s system is beginning to go downhill, but they still have National Education Standards, like France, which is something this country could certainly benefit from. The program in Japan is incredible, and though she’s not going there, looking at education in China could also be beneficial. If we’re going to go by test scores, she should stop by Sweden, Switzerland, and Germany to get some insight into math education, though she is going to Russia, a country that is way ahead of us in science, along with Canada.

With the war in Iraq and the economic problems we have at the moment, education seems pretty low on the priority list for most Americans. With elections approaching, it is up to the average American to shape the debate. We must steer the politicians away from volatile issues where nothing gets resolved such as gay marriage and abortion and focus on more pressing issues, like how Americans can receive affordable health care and why our children are not as well educated as those in countries with more kids and less money.

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7 Responses to “It’s About Time”


  1. 1 Dr. Deborah Serani
    June 18, 2006 at 2:31 pm

    It IS about time that more money and broader insights are directed to education. I agree with you.

  2. 2 exMI
    June 18, 2006 at 4:37 pm

    the japanese system may generate some type of results on test but I have heard some real horror stories aobut the unintended consequences that result from it. Lots of suicides being one of them.

  3. 3 United We Lay
    June 19, 2006 at 4:12 pm

    Exmi,
    Well, I’m not saying we follow their example directly. The Japanese do put a lot of pressure on their students, but our kids, for example, could do a lot more to participate in the upkeep of the building, spend more time on cultural studies, and take more responsibility for their own education.

  4. 4 Old Man Rich
    June 20, 2006 at 6:54 am

    In the UK I think we have become obsessed with qualifications at the expense of a broader education. A big part of going to school should be about learning to interact, understanding societies rules and generally becoming a good egg.

  5. 5 United We Lay
    June 20, 2006 at 1:40 pm

    Rich,
    That’s partly true. That’s why a lot of schools are pushing to require psychology, sociology, world religion, and other humanities courses, without forgetting about science, math, literature, and history, of course. High school is where you learn what you’re good at, and what you want to continue studying, assuming, of course, that you can afford it. My husband’s going back to school and his tuition for a semeter will be about $7000, not including books. We need to work on making education less of a comodity that can be bought and sold, and more open to those who want to learn.

  6. 6 exMI
    June 20, 2006 at 6:13 pm

    That I agree with. At the school I used to work at tehre was no janitorial staff and the students were responsible for cleaning the school. It worked fairly well. Students also did the landscaping as part of some of their classes.

  7. 7 United We Lay
    June 21, 2006 at 9:46 pm

    Exmi,
    Community service never killed anyone… unless they wandered into traffic while doing it. Americans students could really benefit from doing something for someone else for a change. The one’s I’ve taught are incredibly selfish and absorbed in their own problems.


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