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Archive for September, 2011

In Arizona, the application of a state law requiring English teachers to possess a good knowledge of the English language was found to be discriminatory. A settlement reached by the Arizona Department of Education will have the state consider only whether teachers are fluent, not how they speak the language.

Meanwhile, USA Today reports that scores from the Programme for International Student Assessment show 15-year-old students in the U.S. performing about average in reading and science, and below average in math. Out of 34 countries, the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math.

To me, being able to read and comprehend complex material is essential. That is why the Arizona ruling is so troubling. According to USA Today, the top performers in reading were South Korea, Finland, Hong Kong and Shanghai in China, Singapore, Canada, New Zealand, Japan and Australia.

Considering the Arizona ruling, is it any wonder why the U.S. is lagging? We spend more on education than virtually any country, yet we lag behind so many. It is a national disgrace.

Money is not the answer. We have thrown so much money at education that it is sickening. To me, the answer lies in teaching students necessary skills for successful living, fundamental knowledge like reading, writing, science, and math. Forget the esteem-building and political correctness that pervades education today. Stop the BS and teach students things they can use.

Self-esteem comes from real accomplishment, from facing difficulty, working through it, and prevailing. Self-esteem comes from a job well done. True self-esteem is a solo act. Without proper educational preparation in fundamental knowledge, students will not be able to think their way through difficult situations and complex problems.

Not teaching students to read, write, use science, and do math, or in short, to think, is a disservice to them of the highest order. They will fail in life, and America will continue its slow but steady slide into mediocrity.

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