Reading time – 2:10; Viewing time – 3:33 . . .
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) is conducted every 3 years and tests academic proficiency internationally. American kids haven’t progressed. “About a fifth of American 15-year-olds scored so low on the PISA test that it appeared they had not mastered reading skills expected of a 10-year-old . . . ” There’s more to learn and you can find a report here.
Meanwhile, students in other countries are consistently better prepared to succeed. We’ve tried various programs, including No Child Left Behind, Common Core State Standards, the Every Student Succeeds Act, Race to the Top and we’ve spent billions of dollars, but our kids are still behind.
American kids from wealthy families living in strong school districts are doing fine. Perhaps it’s the excellent schools. Maybe that performance is driven by family attitudes and expectations.
At the other end of the fixed-in-place economic teeter-totter are kids whose main academic achievement lies in falling behind not quite so much. So many schools are in disrepair, as are teaching materials and any sense of hope. That’s what happens when we attempt to operate our 21st century schools on a 17th century model.
It’s time to figure this out. And it’s time to do so without political turf grabbing or pork barrelling or ego stuffing. Perhaps then we can actually prepare our kids – all of our kids- for the 21st century.
Do you see any national leaders, say, the president, doing anything to make things better? Neither do I. And our inertia is fueling making this the Chinese century.
In an odd way, this is very much like the infrastructure programs we’ve been promised. Other than re-paving some sections of interstate highways and repairing the most dilapidated bridges, have you seen even a hint of infrastructure improvement?
During the 2016 campaign Trump promised an infrastructure program that would be “the biggest and boldest in half a century.” In 2018 he laid out a pie-in-the sky, one-page infrastructure plan. One step in that plan was “Then a miracle happens.” It wasn’t dead on arrival; it was dead before it was sent to Congress. So, there’s been nothing done. Nothing.
I confess that it’s satisfying to bash Trump for that, but we’ve been talking about this issue for decades and doing nothing about it for just as long.
It’s impeachment season, so Congress is mired in either walking or chewing gum and is unable to do both at the same time. So, regardless of impeachment outcomes, we’re certain to hear nothing more about infrastructure than some hand wringing next year. And there won’t be even that for the education of our kids.
This is what absolutist politics that views compromise as surrender does for us.
This is what treating those who disagree as though they’re enemy combatants does for us.
Unless something changes, this is what we’ll continue to get.
Think about that as you make your voting choices on November 3rd.
Ed. Note: I don’t want money or your signature on a petition. I want you to spread the word so that we make a critical difference. So,
YOUR ACTION STEPS:
- Pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe (IT’S A FREEBIE!).
- Engage in the Comments section below to help us all to be better informed.
- Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
- Errors in fact, grammar, spelling or punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
- Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
Copyright 2019 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.