A few days ago I went to a bank in an affluent part of Houston. I was making a wire transfer to London. After struggling for a few minutes, the clerk told me she couldn't find London on the list and asked me if it was in France.
We are not talking about a poor minority 20 something from the inner city. She was white and fairly articulate.* This along with hearing that some of my students don't know who Napoleon convince me that something needs to be done about our public school system.
Why didn't she know that London is in the UK (England)? She seemed fairly intelligent. She also looked young enough to be caught in the throws of No Child Left Behind. I can tell you that the amount of knowledge students bring with them to college has greatly decreased since schools began teaching for the test.
This young woman and my students who think Queen Victoria lived in the 1600s are all capable of learning and completing a university degree. Unfortunately, their high schools have not been helping prepare them.
The Washington Post
Obama: Revise 'No Child Left Behind'
(Page 1 of 6)
By Nick Anderson
Sunday, Mar 14, 2010
President Obama proposed overhauling the No Child Left Behind law that was his predecessor's hallmark education initiative, aiming to eliminate several of the measure's controversial mandates on public schools but adding new ones.
Students would still be tested every year in reading and math under Obama's proposal, but scores in other subjects could also be used to measure progress, addressing concerns of parents and teachers who say the law has shortchanged such topics as history and science.
The president's proposal to Congress, released Saturday, would place more importance on academic growth than the current pass-fail approach to judging schools. If a student were to start class work three grade levels behind and move up two by the end of the school year, that would count as a victory. Now, it is rated a failure because the student is still behind...link to complete article
*this means that the stereotype that only poor minority kids are ignorant is wrong. What I am trying to say is that that all kids are suffering the consequences of our abysmal public education system