Monday, December 19, 2005

Schools falling down on fundamentals job

When schools fail to educate our children parents need to be there to pick up where the education system has left off. Is it better to give the schools more money with a tax increase or use that money to hire a tutor or send your child to a place like Sylvan Learning center where they guarantee results? Paying teachers more does not improve performance. Because of tenure schools can not get rid of underperforming teachers and hire teachers who may get better results.

Teachers and administrators do not have to worry about their retirement take a look at the pension calculator on The Family Taxpayers Network website Make sure you are ready for retirement before you consider giving school systems more money that are making some retired school employees millionaires.

The editorial below appeared in full in the Chicago Sun Times Newspaper on December 18, 2005.

Schools falling down on fundamentals job

December 18, 2005

After researchers at the U.S. Department of Education set out in 2003 knocking on doors and even visiting prisons to determine how literate Americans are, they made a finding that even they found startling: College graduates, even those with graduate degrees, showed lower proficiency in English language and math skills than they had a decade earlier. Fewer of them were able to master complex literacy tasks such as comparing the viewpoints in two newspaper editorials.

Mark Schneider of the National Center of Education Statistics, which conducted the report, hypothesizes that literacy skills at the college level have declined, in part, because universities are serving a different population than they did in 1992 when the last literacy study was undertaken. "Public universities have opened their doors to an increased diversity of students," he said. "They may present new challenges the universities didn't have to face before."

If that's the case, the Education Department literacy study should force colleges to do some self-searching -- not only about the literacy skills of the students they accept as freshmen, but also about the quality of the students they graduate.

It is assumed those with college degrees have advanced skills, that they can undertake complex reading and math tasks -- such as being able to interpret a table about blood pressure, age and physical activity and being able to compute and compare the cost per ounce of food items. If these colleges are graduating students who can't understand editorial arguments or read blood pressure charts, there is something terribly wrong with our educational systems from first grade on up through college.

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