Friday, August 21, 2009

Ten months of school?

Statistical averages of U.S. education's performance are depressing indicators of failings by the three most vital elements in classroom learning.

Schools. Parents. Students.

New data compiled by international consulting firm ACT Inc. from college entrance tests taken by 1.48 million high school grads concludes that only 23 percent could earn a minimum C- grade in college-level reading, English, math and science. That's pathetic.

In other studies by the U.S. Department of Education, student grades improve in direct relation to the rigor and demands of teachers and schools.

But this problem isn't confined to campuses. Graduating only a small bloc of students each year with barely passing grades leaves the nation's workforce far short of basic skills and society with less self-reliant citizens.

Would 10 months or more of elementary and high school education instead of nine each year increase student acuity? It would be a good start.

Should education's curriculum counterattack the pernicious influence of unreliable Internet "information" sources on which many students rely—blogs and social networks that feature misinformation and gossip that sap interest in serious knowledge? (Witness the outlandish "information" health care protesters use in their arguments.)

A course in logic and reason would awaken many young people to the intellectual scams in their lives.

No solution should be scoffed at or rejected as impractical. The present system is too flawed.

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