This is decent overview of the history of education in American. I suspect, however, that you have not been in schools throughout the country. The shift to rubric measurement, and all the ramifications, fits right in with your recommendations. Project based learning has been an integral part of the day since I started my teaching career in 1983. In fact, one of the things that Singapore and some of the interantionally recognized countries are studying in the US is the prevailing sense of optimism and creativity that still describes much of the country.
I heard a education technology guru from China a few years back, though his name escapes me this minute. His dire warning to the US was to forgo at all costs the uniformity that plagues many of the high scoring countries. He contends that the local peculiarity of US education will be its salvation. After all, if a universal government foisted system makes mistakes, those mistakes will undermine the entire student population. Furthermore, as the agility of any large bureaucracy is its greatest liability, shifting to national norms is counter-intuitive.
Now, before it sounds as if I am rejecting all your perspectives, I am not. Your sense of history and its evolution is grounded in fact. Your feel for the current state of education is off, I think. I have worked in education for 34 years. The school where I currently work is not analogous to the schools I attended in my youth.
I think many people are being led to draw conclusions that the educational establishment wants them to draw.
PISA: It's Still 'Poverty Not Stupid' Editor's Note: This is an update of a previous post on the relationship between…blog.nassp.org
The article above is one that I have been highlighting since the original was published in 2008, I think.
Think about it: The message that the school system is failing benefits the educational communities exclusively. Text book and resource corporations have the equivalent of a monopoly on a public system that needs to be failing in order to achieve the necessary planned obsolescence of the materials.
What will the gurus do if the message is that we are the greatest, and everything is fine? It is much harder to convince school boards and taxpayers to invest in new and improved unless what you are currently using is old and lousy.
The District in which I have worked for the past decade is cash-strapped, and resources truly are in short supply. However, our achievement scores are almost identical with the neighboring district, the one in which I taught for almost a quarter century. That District has tried very much to implement all the recommendations that the educational establishment has suggested is necessary. They have PLC’s and CDT’s, and data teams, and learning coaches, and at least the basic infrrastructure as it is endorsed by the school improvement vanguard.
So how is it that the achievement profile is eerily similar between the two districts? Perhaps the community cultures fail to recognize the arbitrary district boundaries, and the similarity of values and perspectives is the engine for achievement? Perhaps the innovations and the resources are not the difference makers after all?
In summation, though our country is not dominant in educating its people as it used to be, I challenge the notion that the solution to the problems is to invest in national norms or to impose accountability measures that create measurments, but which do little to make any element of the process truly accountable.