Tuesday, May 13, 2008

longer hours in school

i don't teach, although i did once for a year, and i have a healthy respect for those that slog it out in the trenches for the greater good of our kids...but this new call for longer class room hours is pointless. you can send our kids to school twenty four hours a day, seven days a week for the entire year and still not meet the so called goals of the leap test. once upon a time in america, kids had shorter days, more recess time, and summers off and they were graduating with the ability to read and process information. at the beginning of world war one, a cross section of incoming GI's revealed that approximately 90 something percent of whites could read and an 80 something percent of blacks were literate. by world war two, the numbers fell into the 80's for whites and the 70's for blacks and they have been steadily falling since. now, in new orleans for example, i would daresay the majority of the population has a 5th grade education even though they finished high school. so, what has gone wrong. i won't pretend to have all the answers but i do know that longer hours of poor instruction will still get you no where. i think we need to place less emphasis on education as a study that potential teachers can earn a degree in and more stress on obtaining that degree in the field that they wish to teach. history majors teach history. mathmatics majors teach math. education majors...well, i would rather see that you have an understanding of the subject matter you are teaching. i realize that there has to be some way to evaluate children at the end of the year but i am not so certain that leap tests are the way to go. some children do not perform well on standardized tests and i am not so sure but what those tests encourage rote memorization without true thinking skills. in other words, it scares me that we are graduating children that are taught to mindlessly regurgitate facts and follow rules without questioning why. critical thinking should be the hallmark of any education worth its salt. it is one thing to memorize the proofs in geometry but the knowledge of the proofs is worthless without the ability to apply them in order to solve problems. perhaps this is what the world wants...worker bees who do as they are told, blindly obedient, numbed on television and alcohol. we need to seriously reconsider how we educate our children instead of simply throwing more hours at the problem without ever solving it.

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