Wednesday, January 12

Flogging Education

Yesterday I took Mr Hewitt "to task" for his attacking the GPA inflation for "harder classes". In a comment (here), a frequent commenter Dark Syd, thought that perhaps one of the keys to improving our educational system would be to shorten the three month summer break. So I thought that I'd take the opportunity to re-state my position on what we should do to improve the education system (K-12) in this country. In no particular order, we should:
  • Curriculum is irrelevant, with the exception of English, the study of a few shared books (the canon), and a few survival skills. Curriculum should be entirely left up to the local schools.
  • What we should concentrate on teaching is not content but learning skills. The ability to learn well is much more important that the specifics of what is learned.
  • The skills needed to learn (and thus what should the subtext behind all teaching) are:
    1. Diligence
    2. Reasoning
    3. Perseverance
    4. Memorization
  • Standardized testing should only test for the minimum skill set (English et al) and more importantly the improvement in the above four "core" disciplines. Children have different skills in these areas based on upbringing, genetics, and personality. Improvement in each of these disciplines is the goal of education (and what is to be tested).
  • Schools should receive money entirely via vouchers & tuition. All schools should be competing for students. Students (and parents) should be able to choose the school they to which they send their child. Let market and innovation work on our educational system for a change.