Yes, I am ONE MAD MAMA!
I have finally had my fill of the garbage the politically driven media hands out, and have decided that it is about time that we ALL express our views! Perhaps, if enough people get out here and voice our anger, we might actually produce.....
That being said, I would like to address one topic per post, and see where this leads. For our first rant of this blog, I have chosen to address EDUCATION.
Education in this country has gone to Hell. In a hand-basket!
In Texas, it has gone to Hell in a bullet-train!
Sometime in the 90's, our state decided that our children were not learning enough in our public schools. They were not reading, writing or ciphering on a par with other states' children. They instituted something called the Texas Learning Index (TLI) which was measured with a test called the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS). This was initially supposed to be an evaluation of teacher performance, as it should reflect differences in socio-economic bases between and among schools. In other words, we wanted everyone to receive the same level of public education, despite socio-economic background. A laudable goal, to be sure.
Teachers were told that their jobs were on the line. Their preparation of children for these tests bordered on the heroic! There were TAAS drills. There were TAAS prep sessions for the teachers. The children were given pre-TAAS TASS tests!
And our children got dumber.
They changed the test to the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS). This was supposed to be a better tool to measure our children's achievements. There are TAKS tutorials on a daily basis in the weeks preceding these tests. The curriculum is designed to enable the children to pass these tests.
And our children get dumber by the minute.
Then the NCLB (No Child Left Behind) laws came on the scene. Disaster!
Dear Federal Government,
Not all children are smart, or motivated, or even inclined to learn! Not all children NEED to go to college! Not all children have the ability to learn at grade level! Does that mean that we need to dumb down the curriculum? Does it mean that the truly bright children be held back to the standard you have instituted?
There. I've said it. NOT ALL CHILDREN ARE EQUALLY ABLE TO LEARN!!!!!!
Now, what would a rational society do about this? How about teaching the really bright as much as they can, and teaching the not as bright as much as they can learn? What say we throw the TAKS out the window and simply TEACH! Teach the subject, NOT THE TEST! If a child is failing the subject, find out WHY! Is it because they are not doing the work, or is it because the work is too advanced for that child? Are you worried about the quality of the teacher? If an entire class does poorly, then the problem is likely the teacher! How difficult is that? Even more radical, if you divide the children into groups of high, middle and low achievers, the teachers would be able to teach to the level that the child could attain! And we might turn out some incredibly well-educated kids! Instead, we spend millions of dollars on testing, preparing for testing, evaluation of the testing, the test, and the curriculum that prepares for the test! Why not spend these millions on....TEACHERS! Smaller class sizes! Better qualified teachers! Tutoring for the children who are motivated and need help! Better curriculum offerings! College preparatory classes! Technical schools! I think we'd find that the children would be much better served.