Monday, May 19, 2014

The Crap Children Are Taught in School - Common Core and Other Disasters - Part 1


I've spent the better part of my life in higher education. It's painfully obvious that, over the years, students have become less prepared in basic skills such as reading and writing but also lack the ability to distinguish good arguments from bad ones. Students also lack basic skills in time management, dedication, and, most importantly, honesty.

In higher education, such dogmas are reinforced, as university faculty and administration finds ever new ways to enforce rigid thinking and dogmatic conclusions.

As Common Core standards take the nation by storm as the "salvation" of public education, I see no benefit over previous systems, and in fact, see that Common Core standards exacerbate the failures of the past fifty years by centralizing an already bad system.

In the past few weeks, as I scanned the news and commentary about education, I found story after story that points to continued failures with modern educational philosophy.

To illustrate this point, I've collected several examples. Let's start with a new high school biology textbook aligned with standards developed under Common Core. Here are some essay questions from the final exam:
  • Earth is heated by global warming. How is the water cycle affected by global warming?
  • How does fossilized carbon get back into the atmosphere?
  • Describe two ways that technology has hurt the environment.
  • What is a greenhouse gas and how does it affect the temperature of Earth?
  • How does global warming affect the spread of diseases and the habitats of the animals on Earth?
  • How is the carbon cycle related to global warming?
  • What are two things that can be done to encourage sustainable resources for Earth's human population?
Can you see the pattern and the agenda here? These questions come from the final exam out of an entire semester of biology. In order for high school students to pass the exam, they are forced to adopt the opinions of liberal dogma regarding a highly-charged political question. The same question is repeated again and again and again, drilling into students liberal politics.

Whichever side of the globalwarmingclimatechangeclimatedisruption debate you are on, this exam represents indoctrination, rather than teaching. Besides taking up too much space in an exam that should cover the whole breadth of knowledge about biology, it prevents students from thinking, rather than encouraging it.

In short, it tells students what to think, and not how to think.

This post will become too long if I include the other examples of the failures of our educational system, so I'll leave off here and continue later with more examples of the destruction of education.