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Comment by 'Irving' on Cheating, testing, and what's wrong with schools
http://www.peoplesworld.org/cheating-testing-and-what-s-wrong-with-schools/#PageComment_19445
One obvious reason that schools are failing is that few politicians have a serious interest in education. Rather, education is a political football in which politicians and members of the community, and most especially the ultra-conservative religious right, pursue an anti-intellectual agenda. We are not yet past the days of the Scopes trial. How can students be expected to excel in science, no matter what their social and economic status, if, for example, they are obliged to study creationism instead of actual biology? That is of course just one example, but perhaps the most egregious. Another reason is that it is in the best interests of the bourgeoisie to maintain and foster a permanent underclass of uneducated who will work for starvation wages if and when they cn find work at all. The less obvious problem, and one which I have personally seen when teaching mathematics at an "historically black" university in Mississippi, is that it is the least qualified of college graduates who are directed towards degrees in education. Of course the pay structure of the anti-intellectual establishment guarantees that the least well prepared go into teaching. What do I mean when saying that I have personally experienced the problem of the least well-prepared college students being directed into education programs? At that university, I taugth courses in "College Algebra" and and courses in "Mathematics for Junior High School Teachers" and "Mathematics for Senior High School Teachers". The students in the "College Algebra" were a random mix of liberal arts majors; all of the students in the mathematics for high school teachers were education majors. The contents of the "Mathematics for Junior High School Teachers" was identical with the contents of the "College Algebra", and I sought to teach both at the same level and same speed. The outcome was that those students in the education classes scored, as I recall, 20% lower on average as compared with the students in the "College Algebra". Moreover, those students in the "Mathematics for Senior High School Teachers" were supposed to be studying geometry, but had not yet mastered enough algebra to carry out basic manipulations that were needed to work proofs in geometry. I admit that this is hardly a fair scientific sampling, but I strongly suspect that it is symptomatic of the mentality that has led to the failure of the educational system, including the economic, social, and political devaluation of education practiced by the coalition of the big bourgeoisie, the reactionay right, and religious fundamentalists, and their political allies.Thu, 04 Aug 2011 20:02:48 -0400Irvinghttp://www.peoplesworld.org/cheating-testing-and-what-s-wrong-with-schools/#PageComment_19445