Don't fail our future

Treat education as a national security issue to help improve it

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In a bureaucracy filled with task forces that churn out fact-finding reports, it can be difficult to tell which ones are actually important.

Not this time.

America needs to take heed of this particular report. It’s not every day that authors describe our nation’s education system as charting “a trajectory toward massive failure.”

America’s national security and economic prosperity are in grave danger, and reversing the trend requires meaningful improvements. That’s according to an educational task force led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Joel Klein, former chancellor of the New York City schools.

Before now, when others have taken the measure of the quality of U.S. education, it largely has been in terms of charting students’ success in college or in the job market.

But this report, compiled by 30 members with extensive backgrounds in education and foreign affairs, arrive at another very crucial conclusion: “The dominant power of the 21st century will depend on human capital. The failure to produce that capital will undermine American security.”

Improvements are being made, certainly. But that pace needs to accelerate.

The panel makes three main recommendations:

• The academic areas of science, technology and foreign languages are critical to national security. Change core curricula to emphasize and expand these areas.

We’d stress foreign language particularly. Citizens throughout the rest of the world have been increasingly embracing English as a second language. They strive to understand us. Our nation’s continued survival requires we also understand them.

• Expand students’ – and parents’ – choices in where children can attend school.

• Conduct a national security readiness audit. Through that, officials can judge whether schools are meeting education expectations nationally.

We’d also recommend cultivating among students a deeper understanding of America’s core values. Remember “civics” class?

Rising generations of Americans have to be globally aware, economically viable and just plain safe. For that to happen, we must improve education where it counts.

If we fail our children, we’re failing our future.

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seenitB4
87304
Points
seenitB4 03/27/12 - 05:54 am
1
1
Same ole song &

Same ole song & dance....sorry...just can't take a bite.

Yes,, we are failing...we all know that....we all know why too.......just to PC to say ...

when we can make a daddie marry the mommy---stay with her & raise his kids...support & protect the kiddies he makes....well then we wll see a difference...until THEN....hot air my friend!

deadline
0
Points
deadline 03/27/12 - 09:19 am
0
0
I agree with emphasizing

I agree with emphasizing science and math. Parents need to take control. Stop bullying and labeling students that do well in school.

American students will spend hours upon hours practicing for football, baseball, cheerleading, but little or no time goes in to preparation for standardized tests (PSAT, SAT etc), like the Asian students in their class are doing. I think the single most important test in a students career is the SAT which basically determines which college choices you have, scholarships, honor's programs

Jon Lester
2304
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Jon Lester 03/27/12 - 09:53 am
4
0
Be careful what you ask for.

Be careful what you ask for. The more Americans become globally aware, the less influence conservatives will have on American politics.

dichotomy
33017
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dichotomy 03/27/12 - 11:00 am
5
0
I guess I can be the un-PC

I guess I can be the un-PC person this A.M.

We killed ourselves in the 70s and 80s when we lowered the standards to the lowest common denominator. Instead of bringing all student's performance up to "good" we took the entire system down to "poor" so we wouldn't hurt anyone's feelings. We did not help the kids we were trying to "protect" and we absolutely killed the rest of them. I believe we have absolutely proven that the disparity in the quality of education back then had nothing to do with the allocation of resources. Not that it did not need to be fixed. Of course it did. But we chose poorly when we decided to tell kids they were doing great when, if fact, they were failing miserably. And instead of fixing THAT, we continue the ruse.

Then, as a society, we decided that disciplining our children was somehow child abuse. So the parents, now relieved of the responsibility of disciplining their children, in turn told the schools that they also could not discipline the little darlings. So now we are in about the third generation of undisciplined "no fear" students.

And then we decided to mainstream "special needs" kids. How did that work out for the majority of "normal" kids? Not worth a damn. Just remember, "special needs" is an invented term that is very very broad and covers a multitude of conditions. In my day we used terms that were more specific, closer to the truth, and it was obvious that these kids did not belong in a classroom full of kids who were not "special needs", in other words "normal". Regardless of whether "special needs" is actually a mental condition or simply what in my day would have been called a "juvenile delinquent", it is obvious that mainstreaming all "special needs" children severely hampers the progress of "normal" children in a public school classroom.

So now we send these undisciplined kids to schools that basically have no requirements except to show up most of the time and not kill anybody on school grounds. If they make bad grades we go through the motions of sending them to "summer school" and pass them up the ladder. If they commit criminal offenses we send them to "alternative school" and pass them on up the ladder. When they get to the top rung of the ladder and still ain't cutting the mustard we either go ahead and give them a diploma or if they are a total failure we give them the a "certificate of completion". They can't read the certificate but we give it to them anyway.

And we all keep making noises about all kids need to go to college. Phooey. All kids are not equipped to go to college nor do they need to. In fact, based on this false assumption the colleges have lowered their standards so low that a college degree is no longer a guarantee that the person can write a coherent sentence or do basic math. A college degree is now reduced to being the high school diploma of the 60s and early 70s as far as how "educated" the person is.

The country with the best economy in Europe has a system where, in their middle teens, they channel students into either college prep classes or vocational/technical schools. They face the facts that not everyone is a budding genius and that there are plenty of jobs out there for technicians and skilled trades that do not require a college degree. Let's start being honest with our kids and let them know that plumbers and air conditioner repairmen make pretty good money and do not require a worthless liberal arts college degree.

Little Lamb
46040
Points
Little Lamb 03/27/12 - 11:05 am
3
0
That is a well-reasoned and

That is a well-reasoned and well-written essay, Dichotomy. You must have gotten out of school before the lowered standards kicked in. I gave you a "thumbs up."

Little Lamb
46040
Points
Little Lamb 03/27/12 - 11:08 am
0
0
Uh, oh. Don't tell Barry

Uh, oh. Don't tell Barry Paschal about recommendation #2 — the one that says to expand choices about where children can attend school. He believes in zoned school attendance instead of choices.

Fundamental_Arminian
1849
Points
Fundamental_Arminian 03/27/12 - 11:36 am
2
0
Excellent rebuttal,

Excellent rebuttal, Dichotomy! We should've anticipated trouble when John Dewey and others of his generation were promoting the idea that children should be taught no more than is necessary to make them good subjects. His philosophy still permeates our teachers colleges and teachers unions, which is why we have no shortage of functional illiterates.

Parents, unlike teachers unions, want the best possible education for their children. Vouchers will empower them to give their children the best opportunities for advancement, and our nation will benefit from having future generations of well-educated leaders and scientists. Without good educational opportunities, our nation is doomed to third world status.

faithson
5158
Points
faithson 03/27/12 - 11:51 am
1
0
got a little history here...

got a little history here... it is the quality of the teacher that should be paramount, starting with ethics, period. I have a daughter (graduated Aquinas,GSU) who is 10 years into a career in teaching now 5th/6th graders. One thing I have noticed over the last 10 years is how well served she is to have a complete command of the subject she teaches and Her keeping a very high ethical standard within the system. The focus must be the Teachers.

skeptic griggsy
39
Points
skeptic griggsy 03/27/12 - 12:23 pm
0
0
Man, poor, pathetic people,
Unpublished

Man, poor, pathetic people, we Americans. Since Sputnik, the Soviets were going to out-educate us, then the Japanese [ " The Cold War is over. Japan won," Sen. Tsongas] and now China comes forth as outdoing us.
Not everyone can benefit from science and mathematics. However, how science works is essential to know in order to fathom the world without falling for health and other scams.
Yes, to foreign languages for most.
Dichotomy, yes to technical schools.
People don't fathom Dewey.
Vouchers mean nothing. Alternative schools don't do any better. Facts count.
Jonathon,yes.

Craig Spinks
817
Points
Craig Spinks 03/27/12 - 02:26 pm
0
0
Rhetoric is often a precursor

Rhetoric is often a precursor of substantive action but it is never a substitute for such action.

deadline
0
Points
deadline 03/27/12 - 04:04 pm
0
0
great post dichotomy!

great post dichotomy!

716
Points
Barry Paschal 03/27/12 - 05:18 pm
1
0
Aw, too late, LL. I saw your

Aw, too late, LL. I saw your post. I believe in providing a public school system where all can attend free of charge (as required by Georgia's Constitution). I do NOT believe in siphoning off part of the funding from that public school system to create a parallel system to appease opponents of public schools and to enrich for-profit education management companies.

When the government starts giving out vouchers for private security to people who are unhappy with their local law enforcement, then I'll entertain the idea of providing vouchers for private school to people who are unhappy with their local public education.

faithson
5158
Points
faithson 03/27/12 - 10:14 pm
1
0
nice Barry...

nice Barry...

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