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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
How Education Is Failing Everyone
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the_vulture From: the_vulture Date: May 30th, 2009 08:32 am (UTC) (Link)
This may be of some interest to you: http://www.unicef.org/media/files/ChildPovertyReport.pdf

It is the 'Overview of child well-being in rich countries' report card for 2007. For those of you concerned about the state of the US education system, you may take some comfort that it ISN'T at the bottom of the chart. Rather, it's actually rather midling, for the richer industrial nations.

At the bottom? The UK. Again. My colleagues in BC have told me that if you can teach a year in the UK, you can teach ANYWHERE. They're not kidding.

I could go on a huge diatribe about what is wrong with the British education system, from what I've observed whilst teaching there (or, at least, trying to). However, the easy summary comes down to this: how well kids, as a whole, do in school, comes down to the sociolical attitudes towards education, and how much a society is willing to invest in it.

Though I can't really speak about the US education system, I can make a generalized statement about all of 'em. And that would be this: you CANNOT treat education as a business and expect it to do the job everyone wants it to do. More to the point, penalizing failing schools by cutting their budgets is a mistake of the 'beyond the pale' variety. One simply cannot assume that a school is failing because it's being mismanaged and/or is staffed by inadequate instructors. There are usually complex social issues at the heart of the catchment populations for these schools that lead to such big problems. Cutting the funding that could be used to mitigate some of these circumstances, like free lunch programs or after school ESL classes, is NOT going to solve them. And if a school DOES have more than its fair share of inadequate teachers? That may be a result of the a school is so impoverished and problematic that it cannot attract the higher quality teachers it needs. More likely, though, it's because the 'inadequate' teachers are so freaking beleaguered, stressed, and burnt out, due to overwhelming adversity and pitifully inadequate support, that they finally wind up too broken to their job effectively anymore.

Yeah, cutting the funding for these schools is really going to help them.
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