PhillyD must be reading my mind. Check out this clip supporting my theory. (<--- clicking here should skip to the right part 3min 8secs in)
What is going on with our education system?! I’m certain that as the years go by the quality of education is steadily decreasing. A few years ago we allowed (not that we had any input or choice) our esteemed politicians to change the way secondary education was executed and assessed. At the time I could see that it was a dumbing down of an already inadequate system, that had been slowly deteriorating over the years. Our proud country once had one of the flag ship systems built on foundations of reading, writing and arithmetic. We produced a good number of well educated people.
Today we seem to be happy to settle for a system that dumbs down an already below par system. It seems to me that we’ve moved away from a “can do” or “must do” or even “will do” attitude to a “that’ll do” one.
Scaling marks is nothing new. It happened when I was at high school, but it seems, as our youth have begun to fail and the system was consistently failing to get enough over the benchmark that a very lazy and detrimental decision was made. “Let us lower the bar.” What a fantastic idea! NOT!
What the hell is this world going to achieve when our youth are being told... “If it’s too hard, don’t stress! Don’t try harder! Don’t try to better yourself! No! No! No! If it’s too hard then we’ll make it easier for you. Is that better? Do you need a hug and your teddy bear now? can I get you some milk?” And that is exactly what we are doing. We’re producing poor teacher, teaching in a poorly designed system, and teaching bad habits and mediocrity. Please, don’t be offended if you’re a teacher. I don’t have a personal vendetta against teachers, it’s the system that’s failing all around. In fact 4 members of my family are teachers (from early childhood to high school) and I have a lot of respect for them. It’s is not a job I would want to do.
It’s not just this country either. Don’t be fooled by that. Education systems are failing all around the world. Some are winning but most are failing.
Here’s an example of dumbing down our children. Now, in fairness I do have to verify these claims as they come from my teenage offspring (and stories from teenage offspring aren’t always that accurate) But she did come home from school a few weeks back and said... “Dad I think I know now what you mean by dumbing down...” This intrigued me. My ears were pricked and I was listening intently. My 15 year old continued to tell me. “I’ve got an assessment for I.C.T. (computers) next week where I’ll be able to get 3 excellence credits if I can perform all the tasks.” “Great!” I said, expecting good results here from a reasonably tech savvy teen. “what is it you need to do?” I need to turn on my computer, open my documents, modify a file and save it then turn my computer off.” We both agreed this seemed ridiculous. Bearing in mind that she only needs to achieve 80 credits (in total) throughout the school year across 6 subjects to pass. 3 excellence credits means that this simple task is worth around 4% of her total years achievement.
I think that you’ll agree when I say that the above tasks are hardly a challenge to the average (or even below average) 15 year old in any western society. In fact I would wager that most could perform this task whilst texting with one hand, listening to their iPod, Watching television and chatting on Facebook or MSN. I greatly doubt there’s a lot of conscious thought required, it’s all pretty much second nature.
What else do they have to do to get credits? Remember to breathe? Tie their shoelaces? Spell their name? Do you get excellence credits for washing your hands before you start cooking in home economics (food technology) or whatever vogue word they’re using at your local school.
Deep breath! Deep breath! Phew, Sorry starting to get carried away. I have to leave this here in the meantime, but I will be coming back to this very soon. There’s some interesting history behind our education systems that I’d like to discuss. But I need a coffee before this becomes a 300 page rant and my blood pressure gets too high ;-).
Stop and think!