Friday, August 3, 2007

There Seems to Be a Few Problems Here

The New York Times had a rather disturbing article about a high school teacher who failed a student who "had missed dozens of class sessions and failed to turn in numerous homework assignments...[and] not even shown up to take the final exam." He was however pressured by the principal to allow her to pass his required class and graduate. The Times suggest that maybe we should take the increase in graduation rates that the Department of Education boasts of. It's not hard to graduate a decent percentage of students when the school makes an effort to graduate them even if they don't have basic skills or even care. And in the case of this student she had a lot of "help" in getting to where she was; I'm sure she has a competent family who actually cares about their kid succeeding but the whole goal of teaching and education, especially k-12 seems to be teaching to tests and statistic oriented, how many students advanced to the next grade, what percentage of kids did so or so, instead of taking a less factorial approach and caring about each student individually and trying to make sure they are actually prepared to advance. And just because Bush is still clinging to his "failed" idea of No Child (should be) Left Behind, doesn't mean that a kid shouldn't be held back if they deserve it.

But of course government and budgetary concerns are a zero sum game and it's hard to fund schools properly so they can actually educate students when so many of our tax dollars are going to bombs and weapons to be used in far off lands. Apparently the endless war in Iraq is costing American and British tax payers, about 4 thousand dollars a second, with the Brits spending "only" about 63 dollars a second. That is a staggering and disgusting expenditure and there is no way a country can continue to exist, not to mention strive, when so much resources are being diverted to such a destructive end. With the $448 + billions of dollars the war has already cost America we could, according to the National Priorities Project, have hired over 7.7 million (and counting) new public school teachers and paid their salaries for a year. Seriously even if you're the biggest hawk ever how can you attempt to justify that? I know I wouldn't be able to. Even if we have the smartest of technologies, or even robots doing our fighting, we won't be able to use them if the humans operating them can't read, well either that or of course we can outsource to those countries where education is still actually a priority.

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: