Sunday, November 04, 2012

Clayton Christensen on Education

The Sunday, November 4, 2012 issue of the New York Times has an article by the author of The Innovator's Dilemma.  On page 3 of the Business Section is "A Capitalist's Dilemma, Whoever Wins on Tuesday" by Clayton M. Christensen.  It is a long essay.  I believe this is its most interesting comment:

"We can use capital with abandon now because it is abundant and cheap.  But we can no longer waste education, subsidizing it in fields that offer few jobs.   Optimizing return on capital will generate less growth than optimizing return on education."


Saturday, September 08, 2012

The Teacher as Superman

The New York Times is hosting a conference on September 13, 2012, entitled Schools for Tomorrow.  The newspaper advertisement for it uses the slogan, "Building a Better Teacher."  The website for the conference says, "Today, teachers are expected to be mentors and social workers as well as educators. Sometimes even substitute parents. How do we educate teachers differently to reflect this?"

It might be a mistake to use the schools to solve social problems.  If teachers are really supposed to be substitute parents, what happens to the education of children who do not need substitute parents?  There was a movie in 2010 called "Waiting for Superman."  One person within the movie said that as a child he was waiting for Superman to come and fix the problems in his life.  Schools need a prime mission, and if that mission is substitute parenting, then education is a secondary concern.  When education is not the primary purpose of a public school system, then skills are increasingly abandoned and we eventually cross a threshold where public schools become agents in the moronization of America.  Moronization may be a new word.

Here is a definition I have created for the moronization of America:  a downward slide in the skills and mental abilities of Americans that is perpetrated by the public schools and supported by declining popular culture that is leading to a nation of morons (idiots, dolts).

Here is a more general definition: moronization:  a downward slide in the skills and mental abilities of a population that will transition that society into a population of morons (stupid people).

What characterizes a stupid person?  Stupid (adjective) 1. Tending to make poor decisions or careless mistakes. 2. Marked by a lack of intelligence or care; foolish or careless.

Stupidity is dangerous in our complex and demanding twenty-first century society.  If we try and turn our teachers into supermen and superwomen who can fix deficiencies within a community, then education will cease to be the prime mission of schools, our society will become stupid, and our nation will be at risk of collapse.

A twenty-first century education must maintain the academic skill set of the nation, which includes grammar, composition, and mathematics.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Grammar in the 21st Century

The Wall Street Journal, on June 20, 2012, ran an article entitled, "This Embarrasses You and I," by Sue Shellenbarger.  This article appears on the internet here:  The article describes the decline of correct grammar as more young people join the work force.

The public schools have been abandoning skills.  Grammar skills are declining.  Math skills are declining.  Cursive penmanship is disappearing.  There is a tendency to blame Facebook and Twitter for the decline in good grammar, but the public schools have abandoned their duty to educate our children.  The young people are not entirely to blame.

In this new century, parents have the added responsibility to watch over their children's education in grammar.  For example, I recently pulled some grammar textbooks off the book shelves to give my son a lesson on dangling participles, and on dangling modifiers in general.  We cannot rely on the schools.

Being a resident of the Dallas metroplex, I was pleased to hear that Bryan Garner, president of a Dallas training and consulting firm, has written a book on the effective use of the English language:  Garner's Modern American Usage.

Whether you are a parent or an employer, you cannot count on the public schools providing young people with the grammar skills expected of educated people.  This means that employers will need to administer tests to prospective employees to ensure they have the skills needed to succeed in the workplace.  Writing a grammatically correct essay is a skill that can set you apart in the 21st century.

Robert Canright

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Web of Progressive Math

If you go to this link you can see the web of connections for the progressive math movement. This link was sent by a friend. Thanks to all my friends for sharing their interest in education.