Thursday, September 18, 2008

"The Teachers Baby Us"

Even "A" students find themselves placed in remedial courses at college. Nationwide it is estimated that one-third of college students need remedial English and math courses, according to a new report by Strong American Schools. Remedial education is costing students and taxpayers a fortune.
According to the unprecedented analysis in Diploma to Nowhere, remediation in public institutions costs roughly $2.5 billion every year to provide students with the content and skills that high schools failed to provide them.
"When American public schools do not ensure students receive a quality education, they fail in their mission and in their obligation to taxpayers," says Strong American Schools Chairman Roy Romer. "Our country cannot afford a high school diploma that does not show real student achievement."

I know the coordinator of the remedial math program in one upper tier university within "the giant California State University system" who says 65 percent of incoming freshman must complete at least one remedial math course. Students report to me they are surprised, angry and frustrated to find out that good grades and studious habits are not enough enough to prepare them for college. They believe they did their part so the problem must lie with the teachers. Hence one college student's complaint, "The teachers baby us."

Roy Romer says, "We're not expecting enough of our youngsters and the institutions that train them." At least one middle school student agrees. Americans are poignantly aware of the link between education and the economy.
Americans See Link between Education and Economic Prosperity

A new poll from the Associated Press shows that education is a leading issue for Americans, ahead of the war in Iraq, terrorism, and the environment.

Most Americans agree that "if more students completed at least two years of college, the economy would benefit."

In another survey:
Majority of American Parents Think Too Little Attention is Being Paid to Education as a 2008 Presidential Campaign Issue: GreatSchools Partners with Strong American Schools to Advocate for Elevating Discussion about the Need for Education Reform

The media should be flooded with stories of everyday American pressing hard for a world-class education system. Instead, for all the complaining about education, there is little interest in a serious national conversation. In fact, one survey found that parents would rather shop for school clothes than do the more important things that might actually have some positive impact on their child's academic achievement.
The findings revealed that while most parents are engaged in back-to-school shopping, they may be overlooking other important ways they can help their children prepare for a new school year.

According to the survey, parents are more than twice as likely to shop for supplies and clothes for their children as to:
Find out what their children will be learning in the new school year
Meet the new teachers
Adjust their children's sleep schedule
Get their children on a nutritional breakfast schedule
Increase their children's reading time
Reduce their children's video/computer game playing time

What we can learn is that the education of our children is a collaborative societal project requiring the active participation of all stakeholders, including those with no children in school.

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