Education in America __ Three Sad Examples

Posted on February 15, 2013

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As someone who has lived out side of the country for the last 21 years, I am always amazed when I read stories, like the ones I will share with you today, about happenings in America’s education system. I sincerely hope these examples are exceptions and not the rule.

California Applies Common Core Standards

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is something new to me so I Googled it. Here is their mission statement:

The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.

From a Daily Caller article we learn that in California, eighth graders will no longer be required to learn algebra.

 will no longer require eighth-graders to take algebra — a move that is line with the Common Core standards being adopted by most states, but that may leave students unprepared for college.

Last month, California formally shifted to the Common Core mathematics standards, which recommend that students delay taking algebra if they aren’t ready for it. Previously, algebra class was a requirement for all eighth-graders in the state.

This is progress? This is preparing our children for the future? Sounds to me like another of those “one size fits all” ideas. So, I went back to the link above and clicked on Math Standards. I didn’t read it all but I did read this:

There is a world of difference between a student who can summon a mnemonic device to expand a product such as (a + b)(x + y) and a student who can explain where the mnemonic comes from. The student who can explain the rule understands the mathematics, and may have a better chance to succeed at a less familiar task such as expanding (a + b + c)(x + y). Mathematical understanding and procedural skill are equally important, and both are assessable using mathematical tasks of sufficient richness.

Mnemonic? What the hell is mnemonic? I have a Master’s Degree in Engineering. I was a damn good engineer. I have not a clue as to what a mnemonic is or why I would have been served to know. I doubt Albert Einstein knew what a mnemonic was. Teachers have been teaching and students have been learning algebra for a very long time. Are we trying to reinvent the wheel? And, if this reinvented wheel is so good, why would students not be ready for it in the eighth grade?

Student Sues University Over Grade

From another Daily Caller article comes this news:

A graduate of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa. has sued the school for $1.3 million because she is unhappy that she got a C+ in a class in 2009.

Megan Thode, 27, says the grade ruined her dream of becoming a licensed professional counselor, reports The Morning Call, an Allentown-based newspaper. Her civil suit alleges breach of contract and sexual discrimination. It contends that the grade was part of a broader attempt to force her to abandon the graduate degree she was pursuing.

Trial proceedings began Monday in Northampton County and could last the rest of this week.

Ms. Thode, the daughter of a Lehigh professor of finance, got a C+ in one course because she received a zero  out of a possible 25 points for ….get this… class participation.  A ZERO! How does one get a zero for class participation? She must have slept through each class. Now, to be fair, she claims discrimination. But, going to court to get a grade changed? Oh, and by the way, she did get her Masters in some other type of counseling instead of repeating the class to improve her grade. This is entitlement mentality that seems to be so common among our young people today.

The University of Missouri Takes Multiculturalism To Extremes

According to Fox News, the University of Missouri publishes a “Guide to Religions: Major Holidays and Suggested Accommodations” — designed to help faculty know when and when not to schedule homework and exams . The guide includes 43 religious holidays that professors need to schedule around so as not to impose on the student’s ability to observe their religious holidays. The holidays includes the  two-day Hindu festival celebrating the birth of Krishna, the Chinese New Year, Ramadan, Rosh Hashanah, Hanukah, Easter, and …. are you ready for this… eight Wiccan and Pagen holidays.

Wiccan and Pagen holidays? Will this insanity never end? How long will it be before students start claiming holidays for all the gods of Greek and Roman mythology? Then they will never have to study or take exams.

If these three examples are indicative of the state of Americas education system, America is in for a world of trouble. The world is a very competitive place. Our young people are not going to be prepared.

Well, now you know what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

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Posted in: Education