4/18/13

To save the country, first save the schools


Here's a theme I've been talking about for a few years. The country's intellectual and financial decline is partly due to the mediocrity of the public schools. This decline can be reversed by adopting proven theories and methods. That's a doable project:  

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Free The Schools
a simple four-step plan  


 Our Education Establishment has an 80-year record of praising 
and protecting bad pedagogies. Enough. 

Here is what we need instead, starting now:

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1. REAL READING. That means systematic phonics for several months until children learn to read. That means no Whole Word, no sight-words, no Dolch words, no high-frequency words. These gimmicks are all the same thing and the reason we have 50 million functional illiterates.

2. REAL ARITHMETIC. Schools use sensible, coherent programs such as Saxon Math, Singapore Math, or the like. (They do not use Reform Math in any of its forms-- Everyday Math, Connected Math, TERC.) Children master basic skills, know the multiplication tables, and can find answers. No more spiraling, fuzziness, or dependence on calculators. 

3. REAL LEARNING. It’s knowledge-based and fact-filled. Children learn basic information in the fields of Geography, History, Science, Literature, etc. Students advance in a logical way from the simple to the complex--which leads to genuine critical thinking. 

4. REAL EDUCATION. It’s academically correct (as opposed to politically correct). The emphasis is on building study skills and scholarly character. Students know a great deal, and know how to learn more. They can do independent work. They understand that precision, rigor, and honesty are the same things.

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FREE THE SCHOOLS 
is simply what all good schools have done throughout history 
and are now doing around the world.  

Good education is not rocket science. 
Get the asinine theories and methods out of the way. Real education will thrive.

We especially need this in the early grades, 
where lots of children have to play catch-up.

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If you can use or advance this campaign, please do so. 

If there are people or groups we should contact, 
leave info at: Word-Wise, 757-455-5020.

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A short article on what NOT to do: 
56: Top 10 Worst Ideas in Education.

A short article on what schools SCHOULD do: 
“A Bill of Rights for Students 2013”

[both on Improve-Education.org]

YouTube video version of FREE THE SCHOOLS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aaT2S4Vep-w


The last straw: my paper in Norfolk just ran an article praising local schools for adopting all the recycled bad ideas from New Math, Reform Math, Constructivism, Cooperative Learning and all the rest. There is nothing new, not one good idea. But this newspaper is all aglow. 
How can parents defend themselves against this nonsense if the media always aid and abet the Education Establishment? The short answer is that parents should not expect much help from the school system or local media. Parents need to familiarize themselves with the bogus theories and methods, understand why they don’t work, and know that we can easily do better.


Education Videos on YouTube

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