Thursday, May 8, 2014

Why K-12 in America Is an Embarrassment

Do Americans really care about the quality of their children's education? Given the fact that almost half of them don't believe in evolution, it's probably a stupid question. But for all the talk of improving K-12 education, new statistics show we are not moving forward. Because we're not even in the top 15 countries in educational quality, perhaps we've decided to just give up.
In the most recent test scores only 38% of high school seniors were proficient in reading. Only 26% of high school seniors were proficient in math.
The country that seems to scare our citizens the most is China. In China you have to know calculus before you can attend college. Korea has the largest, by far, percentage of the population that are college graduates. Both of these countries don't allow parents to say "he's just not able to understand math."
However, in New York State parents were pulling their children out of examinations because they felt their offspring might not test well on the common core.
I taught at a California State University where some of the sociology majors read at a sixth-grade level. They could graduate from the University without really taking a math class. One of the classes they were allowed to substitute for math was entitled Advertising.
I've spent the last few years in retirement helping Chinese graduate students learn the nuances of the English language. They in turn taught me Chinese. One of them had the highest GPA in the school of Public Health at UCLA. Another graduated with a PhD in pharmacology and is working for America's most famous consulting firm.
The secret to their success is that they worked incredibly hard. Their parents never made excuses for them. They were forced to compete in school since first grade.
If you think that sounds terrible, then get ready to live in a second rate country. Hard work is what produces great students and leaders. Not having their mommy say "he just doesn't have the mind for math."

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