Monday, July 2, 2012

Education Watch

"How can an otherwise sane individual become so enamored of a fantasy, an imposture, that even after it’s exposed in the bright light of day, he still clings to it – indeed, clings to it all the harder? No amount of logic can shatter a faith consciously based on a lie." ~ Lamar Keene, a scam artist who posed as a psychic, describing why it was so easy to fleece people.

The Battle of Britain? Wasn't that at sea? Half of secondary school pupils do not know battle took place in the air

It was a turning point in the war, when only the bravery of The Few who took to the skies to defend their country stood between Britain and the might of Nazi Germany’s Luftwaffe. But less than half of today’s secondary school pupils know the Battle of Britain was fought in the air, a poll has revealed. Only 62 per cent could correctly identify a photograph of Sir Winston Churchill, it found – but 92 per cent recognised a picture of Churchill the insurance dog. 'Oh yes'? More like 'Oh no': Over 90 per cent recognised the dog from the Churchill Insurance advertisements yet only a measly 62 per cent of the students polled could identify Sir Winston Churchill.

Low confidence in U.S. public schools is warranted

Perhaps it was the rash of sexual-abuse cases on the part of public school teachers discovered during the 2011-2012 school year. Or maybe it was the poor impression of educators left by Wisconsin teachers union members in the wake of protests against Gov. Scott Walker. Or maybe parents finally took the time to go through their children’s backpacks and found the work product that passes for learning these days.

Whatever the reason, last week the Gallup Organization revealed a poll that indicates confidence in our nation’s public schools is at an all-time low. According to the poll measuring Americans’ confidence in public institutions, confidence in schools is down 5 percentage points from 2011, with just 29 percent expressing “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in them. “This is a new low from the 33 percent measured in Gallup’s 2007 and 2008 Confidence in Institutions polls,” Gallup’s website says. “The high was 58 percent the first time Gallup included public schools, in 1973.”

Too Much College

In President Barack Obama's 2012 State of the Union address, he said that "higher education can't be a luxury. It is an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford." Such talk makes for political points, but there's no evidence that a college education is an economic imperative. A good part of our higher education problem, explaining its spiraling cost, is that a large percentage of students currently attending college are ill-equipped and incapable of doing real college work. They shouldn't be there wasting their own resources and those of their families and taxpayers. Let's look at it.

Robert Samuelson, in his Washington Post article "It's time to drop the college-for-all crusade" (5/27/2012),………. Primary and secondary school education is in shambles. Colleges are increasingly in academic decline as they endeavor to make comfortable environments for the educationally incompetent. Colleges should refuse admission to students who are unprepared to do real college work. That would not only help reveal shoddy primary and secondary education but also reduce the number of young people making unwise career choices. Sadly, that won't happen. College administrators want warm bodies to bring in money.

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