Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Education Trends

My friend, the Freelance Thinker ( posted today about how much his granddaughter is learning. He went on to discuss how much more opportunity kids have today, and how much earlier they learn complex subjects.
I, too, have smart grandkids who started early and continue to be outstanding learners. However, I am under no illusion that they are in the majority of students in this country. Unfortunately, continued comparisons of our test scores vs. those of our peer countries, the major developed countries in the world, place our students overall in low positions in all major subject areas.
Something is wrong with education in this country and, no, it doesn’t start with teachers. It starts in the home where all too often the kids are not only not taught that education is important, but their minds and bodies are not fed well enough to prepare them to learn all day.
The Freelance Thinker also urged us to turn out multicultural and multilingual Americans. I have lived in foreign countries, learned other languages and cultures, but I have not sought to be multilingual. As an English speaker in today’s world, that is not essential unless you wish to work as a linguist or translator. English has become the lingua franca.
Teach language and culture by all means. But, let’s not seek to turn especially our high school students into fluency. They need all the time they have to learn the sciences and prepare themselves for the technical jobs that allow workers to earn family-supporting salaries.


  1. Since you allege that the problems of education are in the home, perhaps we should consider placing all our children in communist communes. We could have government tutors teach them all they need to know in order to compete in the new world of technology. I think you have been drinking too much Arrogant Bastard Ale which accounts for your arrogant attitude concerning the "lingua franca". We urgently need to have future citizens who are fluent in Chinese.

  2. Most people now admit, even if not publicly, that broken and/or disfunctional homes that do not value education, do not adequate feed the children, foster character disorders, etc., are the biggest single reason why learning doesn't happen for some kids.
    Government tries to deal with this with freee breakfasts and luncheons at school. (Food stamps and all the other support mechanisms for the "poor" do not help educate children, at least not the education that will help them succeed in the wider world beyond the ghetto or mountain community.
    The Chinese, like every other country wishing to do business with the U.S. and Canada, make sure their reps know English. I never said the study of foreign languages was a waste of time. It is useful to understand how foreigners think, and a study of their history and culture, helps us understand why they think as they do. But to believe that someday Chinese is going to be the lingua franca of the world, is to predict that they want to take over the world (and can succeed).