Friday, December 8, 2017

Education: A Tale of Two Cultures

Russian Pilot displays
Pilot Skill and technical genius
of SU-30 Fighter Jet

Watch the above video posted this morning on Veterans Today and see the superb skill of the Russian Pilot as he maneuvers his SU-30 fighter jet within meters of a large Russian cargo transport plane seconds after it has dumped tons of humanitarian supplies in Syria.

During our trip to Russia in 2014 I was privileged to be allowed into an ordinary Russian highschool and classroom where the students (even though it was still summer break) honoured us Western tourists with a short talk and question and answer period on the Russian style of education.  The students were, at the same time, practicing their English as this project was part of their curriculum.  It shows the genius of Russian educators to give practical experience along with academic studies.

The highschool we were in was a "tear down" had it been in my home neighbourhood.  The paint was peeling and there were cracks in the walls.  The floors creaked...and there was that musty smell that told of decades of sweaty bodies running up and down the halls to classes.  The classrooms were straight out of the 50's.  Straight rows of student desks/chairs made out of wood and steel.  The teacher's desk faced the rows and there were blackboards along the walls.  It made me sad that my sons could not have been educated in such a space.  No, they had to endure creative seating arrangements--where four student desks faced each other--butting right up so there was no room for focusing on the teacher or topic.  There was no TV in the Russian Classrooms.  These students were not bombarded with that inane, brainwashing tripe Charlie and the Chocolate Factory film being shown year after year...until they knew every scene by heart...as my sons were.  We were told by the Russian high school students that they had to choose one foreign language to learn and the languages they could chose from were English, French or German.  The effort the brain goes to through learn a foreign language is a great strenghener of the brain "muscles".  Also, educators have said that the effort to master cursive writing is similarly a "brain strengthener"...learning cursive writing has been down played in Western schools...as has been spelling and grammar.

MEANWHILE....

Over on The Sleuth Journal...we have a report that parents are suing the State of California because their children are unable to read. Please read the following from the post and I will have final thoughts in comments to follow:

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California Is Being Sued Because So Few Of Their Public School Children Can Read


School Is Way More Boring Than When You Were There


At one elementary school in California, 96 percent of the students are not proficient in either English or math.  How is that even possible?  Unfortunately, the more the federal government gets involved in education, the worse it seems to get.  At one time the United States had the greatest system of public education on the entire planet, but these days we only seem to make headlines when news comes out about how poorly we are doing.  This has been a hot button issue for me for a long time, but even I was surprised when I learned that the state of California is actually being sued because so few of their public school children can read…
A group of prominent lawyers representing teachers and students from poor performing schools sued California on Tuesday, arguing that the state has done nothing about a high number of schoolchildren who do not know how to read.
The advocacy law firm, Public Counsel, filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court to demand the California Department of Education address its “literacy crisis.” The state has not followed suggestions from its own report on the problem five years ago, the lawsuit said.

So exactly how bad is this “literacy crisis”?
Well, according to this lawsuit less than 50 percent of all third, fourth and fifth grade students in the state of California meet minimum standards for literacy…

English assessments found less than half of California students from third grade to fifth grade have met statewide literacy standards since 2015.Both traditional and charter schools are failing, Rosenbaum said.
Of the 26 lowest-performing districts in the nation, 11 are in California, according to the lawsuit. Texas, the largest state after California, has only one district among the 26.

If we want our nation to have a positive future, we must do something about this.
We desperately need to start raising our standards.  These days, virtually all testing consists of either multiple choice, true/false or fill in the blank questions.  Instead of teaching our kids how to think, we are training them how to regurgitate answers, and that is the wrong approach.
I believe that we need to throw out Common Core all across the country and return to the basics.  Our young people need to learn how to communicate, and so I would love to see a renewed focus on reading, writing and speaking.
In addition, we need to start training our young people for the careers of tomorrow.  I believe that we need an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math, because we are starting to fall behind other nations.  In particular, India and China combined are now pumping out 12 times as many engineering graduates each year as we are, and that is a major problem.
For those that are not bound for college, we need to make cutting edge vocational training available for them.  Every high school student should be ready to enter the workforce after graduation, and today that simply is not happening.
As a member of Congress, I will fight to fix our deeply broken system of education, and if you believe in what I am trying to do I hope that you will join the team.  I very much agree with Charlotte Iserbyt’s prescription for our schools in “The Deliberate Dumbing Down Of America”, and if you have not read that book yet you definitely should.
Doing nothing is simply not an option, because our children and our grandchildren are literally the future of this nation.  We can do so much better than this, but first we must admit that what we are doing right now is definitely not working.


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greencrow says: Yes, the disastrous education in the West has been going on since at least the 1950's.  Billions of dollars have been poured into "flavor of the month" educational fads and gimmicks.  All the textbooks in the west are published by the 'usual suspects' corporations...and are  thus are stuffed with lies, "selective history", hoaxes and irrelevancies. The formula for educating children was tested and tried for hundreds of years before the 1950's.  Sit the children in separate desks facing the teacher.  Teach them brain exercising subjects like basic reading, math (adding, subtracting and multiplying in their heads--NOT with calculators!) spelling and cursive writing.  Expose them to foreign languages, music, art and public speaking/debate (using Roberts Rules of Order so they don't scream over each other, like on the Gerry Springer show, when they're being interviewed on TV as adults).  Above all, teach them critical thinking skills--so that they can successfully work out/assess probabilities and avoid black and white thinking and lies when they are told them.

All the above have been systematically either removed or dumbed down in the West.  Consequently, while Russians are leading the world in technology and flying planes that defy the laws of physics...Americans and Canadians are struggling with basic reading and math.  All I have to ask as a final comment is....

Qui Bono?

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