A Complete Rethinking Of The Very Concept Of Education

Never before has American education been in as precarious a situation as it seems to be at present. For over ten years now we have seen many governors’ summits, and a host of commissions, committees, panels, unions, boards and business executives trying to warn citizens that American schools have become dysfunctional and are in dire need of repairs. And for over ten years the results of student performance have worsened despite the billions being spent to stop the downward trend. Perhaps the time has come to stop and try to examine the problem rationally. It is not the first time that American education has reached a threshold at which only radical solutions seem to be called for. This time, however, reformers are calling for a systemic reform, a complete rethinking of the very concept of education. As politicians, educators, academicians, psychologists, sociologists, and CEOs entered the fray, the well-intentioned movement became murky and increasingly chaotic. It soon became clear that the reformers truly intended a clean sweep of what education had meant to Americans.

The acquisition of knowledge for its own sake, the study and appreciation of great works by outstanding minds and artists, the acquisition of communication and mathematical skills, the objective search for scientific knowledge, the analysis and assimilation of ideas and ideals that enabled western civilization to serve as a beacon for the rest of the world, all of this was suddenly declared superficial, politically motivated, artificial, and unneeded. The new education was to turn from such academic trivia to preparing the new person for the 21st century, a person aware of the leading role that was to be played by the new technology which in some way will take care of all the other academic “frills” that had marked the progress of the old education, the education of the past.

The search for truth, which was at the heart of the traditional academy, was to be replaced by the promotion of the social and emotional growth of the individual while preparing him or her for the demands of the “real life.” As a result, a bevy of researchers and educators started scurrying around for a system that would accomplish this. A goldmine seemed to be struck when a group of sociologists and educators, with the assistance of politicians and business executives, came across a program that had been around for some time and that had close connections with Dewey’s “progressive education.” Known as Outcome Based Education, it called for a much greater emphasis on the affective dimension of the educational process at the expense of the old academic rigors. Basing itself on the conviction that it’s a disproven theory that children must first learn basic skills before engaging in more complex tasks, the stress was now to be placed on the “more complex tasks.”

The educational process was to move from concepts to facts rather than vice versa. This called for a complete revamping of teaching methods. Instead of the teacher being an authoritative figure in the front of the class, he or she was to be a “coach” or “facilitator” helping the class to discover knowledge in small groups working on one or more projects. Working together in groups would prepare students for the team approach used by industry. It would also “level the playing field” so that the disadvantaged would have the same opportunity as others in the learning process. This brings us to the two dominant mantras of the new education. One is that it must foster self-esteem; the other that “it takes a whole village to raise a child.” The first requires that students must acquire the attitudes, values, and feelings that would lead to a smooth, painless transition to the “real life,” as defined by experts; the second requires that the child’s entire community participate in defining his or her education. As for assessing the results, standardized tests are out for the most part. Whatever testing is done must be supplemented by portfolios containing a student’s work record that follows him or her throughout his or her schooling and beyond. In short, primary emphasis is place on the student’s ability to process information rather than to acquire and to retain knowledge of content material or a discipline.

The general movement is from academics to behavioralistic concerns, from the cognitive to the affective domain. The sharp contrast with “traditional education” is obvious without going into further detail. Since the results so far can only be called dismal, should we not mark time for a while to see where we are going? Should self-esteem be the ultimate goal of education? Should the “whole village” be involved in defining a child’s education? Should the idea of knowledge acquisition defer to the acquisition of skills for the new technology? Has the concept of education become so controversial that it calls for a new definition? The two great revolutions that shook the world, the French revolution of the 18th century and the Industrial Revolution of the 19th, tried in vain to redefine education. The passage of time inevitably justified a return to the time-tested concept of the educated person developed by the ancients and the European Renaissance. The latest example of this occurred shortly after World War II when the Soviet Union suddenly seemed to be outpacing us in the new technology with the launching of Sputnik in 1957. No less than the American commander-in-chief responsible for the defeat of Hitler agreed that rather than have American education turn to the wholesale training of technical experts, it should continue stressing the liberal arts and the development of well-rounded citizens. The payoff came with the fall of the Soviet empire. It has also come in the form of the amazing continuation of Americans winning more Nobel prizes than the rest of the world combined.

In a new study recently published by two professors with impressive credentials, we even find the incredible thesis that the entire substructure supporting the current educational reforms is based on faulty and unsubstantiated research and statistics. The study challenges the notion that American schools are failing and are inferior to European schools. The authors ask how Americans could possibly have escaped the conclusion that education in this country is in a deplorable state. The authors then proceed to present statistics supporting their conclusions. Even granting that their handling of the statistics has been seriously questioned, the main thesis is still valid. Does the success of American education over the last two centuries justify the sudden storm of criticism directed at our schools? The call for a complete overhaul and “reinvention” must certainly be approached with great care. Such a radical approach may well affect not only the general direction but the basic philosophy of an educational system that has given our country the leadership in almost every area of human endeavor. We thus come to the basic question that must be asked. What should be the basic purpose of American education? Is it to prepare for adult life, and, if so, what do we want adult life to consist of? Or is it to fulfill the promise contained in our Declaration of Independence: the guarantee of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Could it be the ancient adage of Know Thyself? A Renaissance sage considered virtue the only constant in mortal affairs because she alone “can make blessed those who embrace her and wretched those who forsake her.” He defined virtue as the capacity “to feel rightly about God, and act rightly among men.” Given the recent interest in the teaching of character, should virtue be education’s primary goal? Can any or all of these be summarized in the concept of wisdom? And don’t most or all of them fall in the category of what has been considered “academics” since the days of Plato and Socrates?

It is essential that we measure what progress has been made before proceeding. We therefore respectfully urge the leaders of future Summits to use their influence to make certain that the radical programs being thrust upon schools in an attempt to “reinvent” education nationally be carefully reexamined. Schools have already been overburdened by the intrusion of social services, health services, special interest groups and the attempt to make them all-purpose community centers. We must not blur the distinction between “schooling” and “education.” Any Summit that does not take into account the opinions of those parents, taxpayers, and citizens who are rightfully skeptical of what has transpired in the last ten years of the reform efforts is bound to create further tensions and misunderstandings that could lead to the crippling of the American school.

Cheap Discount Travel Tips

Here are some cheap discount travel tips for you to save money and still have fun on your next vacation!In order to get cheap discount airfare or airline tickets to your desired destination, you will not only want to look for the best deals. You will also want to look for other airports where you can fly from and to, as some airports will offer very cheap airline tickets depending on the destination. Cheap discount airfare is one of the main expenses on your vacation that you need to save on.Cheap Discount Travel tip #2 – Food can be a big expense also when on vacation. One thing to do is buy snacks and certain goods from the grocery store, so as to cut back on eating every single meal at a restaurant.Cheap Discount Travel Tip #3 – Depending on how long you will be staying on vacation, you may want to look into renting an apartment, loft, condo, etc. at a monthly rate as opposed to staying at hotels for weeks. This alone will save you a lot of money. However, if you will be staying in a hotel, look for coupon books online and in gas stations, etc. as these will often save you a nice amount of money on your hotel room bill.These are just a few cheap discount travel tips but make sure you do your homework online and offline because nowadays companies are giving incredible deals just to stimulate more business. In this pressing economy, we all need a good, relaxing vacation but we don’t have to spend a fortune for it!

Car Insurance Companies for You

There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to car insurance. Whether you are looking for a new policy or you are looking to completely switch companies, it is important to know all about the companies that you will be looking at. This article will take a look at some of the companies that provide you with coverage. By understanding the company you will be able to find a policy that best suits your needs.As they say in their slogan, Nationwide is on your side. Founded over 80 years ago, Nationwide grew from a small company to one of the largest insurance and financial services.S Farm insurance was founded in 1922 by G.J. Mecherle. He thought that it was unfair that the local farmers had to pay the same rates as people that were living in Chicago. Today, S Farm serves over 80 million policies in the United States and Canada. Since S Farm was formed as a mutual company, it is not publicly traded and there are no stockholders that must be considered in decisions.Allstate insurance was founded in 1931 along with Sears, Roebuck and Co. Allstate is currently the second largest insurer behind S Farm. They currently sponsor many sporting events, including the Allstate Sugar Bowl and is part of the United States Olympic Committee.Progressive began their company by wanting to be innovators in their company. They were the first insurance company to allow their customers to pay for their premiums in installments instead in one annual payment. They were also the first to offer drive in claim services to their customers. Joseph Lewis and Jack Green were two lawyers starting out in 1937 that thought that Progressive would be a great investment.In 1936 Geico was formed by Leo Godwin and his life in order to provide auto insurance directly to federal government employees and their families. His idea branched off of USAA which he had worked for at the time. Geico generally deals with consumers through the internet and over the phone. They believe that it frees up money for them by not having insurance agents in the field.Those these are not all of the insurance companies that are available to consumers these are some companies that will get you started. If any of these companies sound like they would be the type of company that you want to represent you, you can research their car insurance quotes and find the best rates for you.