Friday, August 6, 2010

Education Gimmicks Are The Problem, Not the Panacea

The Education Gimmick of the Year Club Strikes Again
By Robert Weissberg
American Thinker
August 5, 2010

Since sometime in the 1960s, American educators, and especially the federal government, have been enrolled in the Education Gimmick of the Year Club. Like the legendary Time/Life book club, every so often, a package would arrive; educators could peruse it; and if they liked it, they could keep it, and taxpayers would buy it for millions -- sometimes billions -- plus shipping and handling, and the academic achievement of America's youngsters would soar.

Some panaceas, notably forced racial integration and Head Start, are well known; others, like mega-high schools, small themed high schools, community control, team teaching, the New Math, open classrooms, "critical thinking," and more recently, multicultural instruction, merit pay for teachers, for-profit schools, accountability, web-based instruction, and various free-market nostrums like paying students to learn are less familiar, but they share a common trait: They all have failed to deliver despite grandiose claims. 

Unfortunately, American educators have forgotten to cancel their membership, and the latest Gimmick of the Year Club nostrum has now arrived. This is national academic achievement standards -- officially called "Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI)"
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