Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Permanent Recession

I have a column in USA Today this morning called "The Permanent Recession." It touches on some topics we discussed here in recent weeks -- namely, that mediocre schools have an economic cost, and that underachievement is not just a problem confined to poor students in poor districts. It affects most students at most schools. Scores for the top 10% of US 15-year-olds on international tests are way below the top 10% in countries such as Finland and South Korea. That means that students who might qualify for some of the broadest defined gifted programs here in the US would be considered, at best, B-team material in some other rich countries.

I call for judging schools and states against international standards, and making those very public. I also got to quote Kyle Hutzler, a 2008 Davidson Fellow, who referred to NCLB as the educational equivalent of the Articles of Confederation. I think that's a very apt description. For all the problems of testing, we know that accountability is important, and NCLB was a feint in that direction. The issue now is making something that actually works.


mamaschnuck said...

Just discovered your site after reading this in USA today and thought you have hit it right on the head. We have got to stop lowering the standards of testing then touting the improvements of our kids. Gifted education is not valued nor funded and until we begin to demand more from our brightest and best, America will continue to decline as a world power and economic force. Our kids are our greatest resource and should be allowed to develop and flourish, no matter their skill level (this INCLUDES the highest skill levels). Unfortunately, this will never happen as the focus becomes more and more finely tuned on the lowest achieving students, to the expense of the highest. Feelings and self esteem are imprtant in all children, not only the ones falling behind.
I have finally decided to homeschool my kids as I have seen their motivation to learn diminish as they very quickly learned that mediocrity and half hearted effort gets rewarded and the abysmally low levels of expectations are met with little to no effort.

J. said...

Simply put, NCLB has been disastrous for gifted kids. If not for most kids. Therefore, I am surprised to see it getting so much support here.

I wonder -- is this blog still a haven for parents of gifted children or just another mainstream education forum?

Looks I better start spending a lot of time on Hoagies again. They seem to talk my language far better. They understand my needs more.

HW said...

Laura, the argument in "The Permanent Recession" (I'm referring to the McKinsey study you describe, not your column) MIGHT be true, but how do you explain the so-so results of the Canadian economy, where the educational statistics are very much like those in the high growth countries -- only without the growth? There is a LOT more to making an economy grow than the McKinsey study took into account. It's an advocacy piece, not a serious study.