Educational Politics

In a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, featured writer Joel Klien lamented at the appalling lack of attention, less than 1% of campaign time, is spent discussing the future of education in our country. I for one am a little relieved although I don’t believe my relief will last very long. Political leaders all have their “great ideas” on how to reform education. Like the “No Child Left Behind” brain-fart of the past administration. The phrase is cute, the intention was good, but the practical application is off the mark. In a classroom of 30 kids, there are going to be those who need to be left behind because they just can’t cut it. Forcing America’s educators to spend an inordinate amount of time on the bottom 10% dumbs-down the rest of the students. Florida recently announced it was going to “lower the bar” so more students could graduate. Not the answer. Recognition that there are those who are intelligent, smart, college ready — and those who are not is the solution. Not college ready does not mean stupid. As evidenced by the enormous number of college drop-outs, there are just other skills in which they are proficient, even gifted. Those who are not college material should not be forced to meet the same criteria as those who are. Our problem is we cannot seem to get to the point that we formally recognize that fact in our children. Not everyone is college material. Not everyone should be working on sensitive material or handling dangerous products. We need people to clean up after the elephants and there are students who are up to that type of challenge.
Is it our national social and moral compass that keeps us from admitting that this is a problem? It is the elephant in the room when educational discussion begins and the topic of raising the bar, and college preparedness is discussed. The is little or no discussion about how to accommodate those students who are not able to perform on the same level as others. If we so chose to recognize this issue, set up a system where the college bound test the standardized collegiate type tests and those not college bound were excused from such testing, you’d see a vast improvement in school test scores across the board.

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