Friday, April 24, 2009

Post No. 108a: Article of Interest re U.S. Education Status


The following article appeared in the April 22, 2009 electronic edition of the New York Times:

April 22, 2009

Op-Ed Columnist

Swimming Without a Suit
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

"Speaking of financial crises and how they can expose weak companies and weak countries, Warren Buffett once famously quipped that 'only when the tide goes out do you find out who is not wearing a bathing suit.' So true. But what’s really unnerving is that America appears to be one of those countries that has been swimming butt naked — in more ways than one.

"Credit bubbles are like the tide. They can cover up a lot of rot. In our case, the excess consumer demand and jobs created by our credit and housing bubbles have masked not only our weaknesses in manufacturing and other economic fundamentals, but something worse: how far we have fallen behind in K-12 education and how much it is now costing us. That is the conclusion I drew from a new study by the consulting firm McKinsey, entitled The Economic Impact of the Achievement Gap in America’s Schools."

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To view the remainder of the article, click here.

6 comments:

  1. Consistent with a point that the report made regarding 4th graders versus high school students, Gore Vidal once said something to the effect that he never met a 6 year old that he did not find interesting, and that he rarely encountered a 16 year old who he wanted to spend much time around.

    ReplyDelete
  2. That this has occurred should come as a surprise to no one. It developed over time. It reflects what we value here in our society, plain and simple. We simply were not interested in education, at least not in comparison to other things that we viewed as higher priorities. Most Americans are far more likely and motivated to encourage their favorite sports teams to succeed than their kids. It takes too much time, and distracts parents away from their leisure activities.

    We're not a hungry country any more.

    Education is not a priority.

    Imagine someone having cancer which is progressing slowly, and watching it develop further year by year by year, without getting to the root cause of the problem.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It seems to me, as one who has observed the decline of quality in education over a number of decades, that the general public is greatly interested in the quality of education and views it as a priority. We have been repeatedly told of the decline in our education systems by politicians as they run for office and re-election, by the media in feature stories and exposes, in countless books that have made the non-fiction best seller lists. These reports, stories, and campaigns wouldn't exist if people were apathetic about the subject. But the programs instituted and the money spent seem to only make things worse.

    Maybe the approaches approved, and thought up by, the educational "experts" are counter productive. Perhaps the concepts that seem to have popular support but are not favored by those experts ought to be tried.

    Maybe back to basics, teacher merit evaluations, school vouchers should be more heavily supported by those who have more power. Perhaps it is time since we appear to have nothing to lose at this point.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I haven't personally experienced the decline in education, either in my own case, or in my childrens' cases, or in the experiences of my extended family, so I can't comment on it from first-hand knowledge.
    My hunch, however, is that the problem is not in the schools, or with the teachers, but in the homes, and with the parents.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I haven't personally experienced the decline in education, either in my own case, or in my childrens' cases, or in the experiences of my extended family, so I can't comment on it from first-hand knowledge.
    My hunch, however, is that the problem is not in the schools, or with the teachers, but in the homes, and with the parents.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That this has occurred should come as a surprise to no one. It developed over time. It reflects what we value here in our society, plain and simple. We simply were not interested in education, at least not in comparison to other things that we viewed as higher priorities. Most Americans are far more likely and motivated to encourage their favorite sports teams to succeed than their kids. It takes too much time, and distracts parents away from their leisure activities.

    We're not a hungry country any more.

    Education is not a priority.

    Imagine someone having cancer which is progressing slowly, and watching it develop further year by year by year, without getting to the root cause of the problem.

    ReplyDelete

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