Popular lies about U.S. education certainly don’t do the kids any good. They just let the adults continue to feel comfortable while kids receive increasing diagnoses of ADHD and special needs, delay life milestones like marriage and buying a house, enter a crippled workforce, and face paying off the biggest debt in the history of humankind while receiving no government benefits in return. All these, and more, are directly related to education quality.
That is from an interesting – and worrisome – article in The Federalist. “Six lies have been repeatedly publicly disproven but remain driving forces for education policy:”
Lie 1: America’s rich, suburban schools are high quality
“The United States’ best schools are mediocre compared to their international peers”
Lie 2: Poverty is the root of America’s education problems
“A raft of studies have shown that increasing education spending does not increase student achievement.”
“Teachers and schools can overcome poverty and neglect. We know because some have, and not at random. For example, giving a child who lags two years behind his peers an excellent teacher (defined as a top-25-percent teacher) four years in a row will catch him up.”
Lie 3: Schools should teach generic skills like “critical thinking” and “real-world application”
“There are no skills that apply to any knowledge indiscriminately. Believing that, however plausible it sounds, is the intellectual equivalent of asking a carpenter to apply his chiseling skills to gardening, or horseback riding. Knowledge acquisition must be systematic and focused, and requires memory. You cannot have great reading skill that applies equally to a passage about the Civil War and to one about the lifecycle of amoebae.”
Lie 4: Teachers are well-prepared professionals
“Teacher training ends up handicapping teachers by instilling in them the most ineffective education philosophies and methods. A review of all the available research on teacher certification has decisively shown it does not result in better teachers.”
Read the whole thing.