The education system in the United States is so messed up that we need to go back to basics.
What should the goal of public education be? Historically it was to teach children to read the Bible, write and do basic math.
Today reading is still a goal of public education, but it now draws on all genres of literature to learn life lessons not just the Judeo-ChristianBible.
Basic math today is still a goal of public education. It was needed to participate with business in buying and selling. However, if you look as school curriculums they take all students beyond basic math to higher math. Why? So they can get into college.
I was fortunate to be involved in the opening of a job oriented high school. There was still English and basic math, but the rest of the curriculum was devoted to occupational skills such as: carpentry, electrician, computer programming, culinary, plumbing and nursing.
Then the state started a universal testing program based upon traditional high school curriculum. To get funding our students had to focus on courses that could get them into college. As you can guess, the school essentially became a typical high school focusing on college preparatory courses that were tested state wide and used to allocate school funding. Technical schools essentially stopped focusing on the needs of business, parents and students. How did this change things.
Our culinary program trained students to work in high end restaurants. They learned to be to flamb’e, prepare lobster, prepare fresh vegetables, make all kinds of baked goods. The district cut the budget so that the culinary department only prepared dishes that were on the district’s cafeteria menu. (to be specific, the students were used to open cans and boxes of frozen food, and reheat them. They went from culinary students to cafeteria workers.)
What should be the goals directing our states and local school boards? We are far away from reading, writing and arithmetic. Does every student need to do calculus, read Shakespeare, study physics?
We will look at that question next time.
Please feel free to comment.