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View Diary: Our students are smarter than ever. Literally and explicitly. (20 comments)

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  •  I believe that the achievement gap is decreasing (4+ / 0-)

    That make sense.

    I find it hard to buy the notion that kids are getting smarter.  Depth of knowledge is unquestionably decreasing.  And if intelligence is measured by testing outcomes--it stands to reason that educational systems geared towards passing tests will result in higher grades on these tests.

    However--I work with enough kids to see things like this:

    Students have rapidly declining number sense, but more are enrolled in (and passing) higher math classes.  They also don't know what they're doing, but they know what buttons to push on a calculator.  They believe that they will never use any of these skills again, so they don't try.

    Students are fine with the standard formula for narrative and persuasive essays. (intro, support 1-2-3, conclusion).  They know WHAT a thesis statement and a topic sentence are.  They can, at least with reasonable command of the English language, generally score a B.  However, even for bright students, their writing is generally mediocre.

    Students are fine KNOWING how to read.  However their comprehension skills at higher levels is generally sub-par.

    And finally, students--because of the information revolution--know where to go for basic research information. (hint: wikipedia and maybe 1 or 2 references).  They know not to plagiarize, so they know how to be careful.  But they don't know HOW to research.  And we see this in the new crop of journalists in our media as well--quick pool reporting to get (often incorrect) information out, rather than rigorous investigation.

    So no--I don't think kids are getting smarter at all.  I think the education system is really problematic--and it doesn't really measure anything.

    •  Press are Corporations, You Can't Tell Anything (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      intrinsic about a corporation's workers by observing their behavior on the job. They're not free agents.

      News corporations under our system have the job of promoting the corporate agenda, and their private Bill of Rights freedom exempts them from obligation or content restraint.

      The job of any corporation is to obtain its raw materials at the cheapest possible cost, add the minimum value the market will accept, and distribute at the highest possible profit. Serious investigation costs the corporation labor money and risks alienating sponsorship money. Annoying government cuts off cheap access to that line of news.

      It wouldn't matter how well trained and objective a journalist is, except that if they strive to practice serious journalism they wouldn't be hired in the first place. This particular issue has nothing to do with education.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat Aug 18, 2012 at 09:32:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't disagree with the crux of your argument (2+ / 0-)
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        stevej, dewley notid

        and it was just one (probably somewhat throw-away) example--

        But I DO think that the shift from research to access is a deep cultural shift that does ultimately impact journalism and journalistic integrity, and the current educational system does very little to buck that trend--although I think it could.

        •  For sure, and that is an entire series of posts!! (1+ / 0-)
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          In 2000 Bushie released the report "A Nation Online", and considered the problem of information literacy solved because the physical infrastructure was there. However, the poor and underprivileged were most likely to use technology to access games and movies, while the more affluent were more likely to use it to access government services or quality of life enhancement services.

          Access does not equal literacy. It's worse because we think one solves the other. Huge problem.

    •  I think we have a romaticized view of yesterday (0+ / 0-)

      I think, if we do not quit this incessant focus on testing we will lose our critical thinking skills and creativity. That is a risk, and maybe an inevitability.

      However, most policy makers, educators, and educational leaders were successful in the traditional model of school. What they don't realize is that they were the top of the curve. Your experience in school was probably not the norm. Like most leaders, you probably have a romanticized view of how education used to be based on your own experience.

      truth is, most kids hate math or have math phobias or resistnce, and that has been true since Ugghh scratched tally marks on the cave wall.

      •  in addition... (0+ / 0-)

        the deformers "reform" involves a return to those traditional and back to basics methods that worked so well for them, and protected their place in society.

        the ironic thing about Students First and ALEC is that their reforms are actually a regressive return to methods that only helped those at the top of the curve.

      •  agree with part A--not part B. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sunny skies, historys mysteries

        Yes--my educational background was different--I'm from an upper middle class family, and we luckily lived in one of the top educational counties in the country, and I was involved in g/t programs and the like.  So you're right about the romanticized lens.

        I don't buy the idea that most kids hate math or have math phobias--they just think they do.  Since I've been tutoring math, the number of students who come to me and say 'I don't get it--and I don't care' is astounding...once I'm through with them, many of them do get it--and a lot of them do recognize the importance of math.  Math isn't integrated at all in our curriculum, and numerancy has gone out the window with the ubiquity of calculators even in the younger grades (I'm going to write a piece on that, but haven't gotten around to it).  Lose out on numerancy early on, and your math comprehension is pretty much out the window.  But even then, you can still get a good grade on a test wihtout knowing what the hell you're doing.  That's the problem.

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