OPINION: PUBLIC EDUCATION REQUIRES RENEWED FOCUS ON SKILLS-BASED LEARNING

The Daily Caller | 1/11/2019 | Staff
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America’s confidence in its public schools has dropped significantly in the past half-century. A mere 29 percent of Gallup survey participants expressed a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in public schools, down from 58 percent the first time the question was asked in 1973. However, unlike the many other institutions that saw a similar decline over the years, no single event or scandal can be blamed for public schools’ waning confidence. Perhaps through their own experience, or that of their kids, people have simply stopped believing that traditional public schools are working.

So what can we do to fix it? We have to start by asking what the role of K-12 education should be, what subjects we teach and how those courses should be taught.

America - Public-school - System - Access - Services

America’s early public-school system limited who could access its services, but for those who were fortunate enough to attend, it was spectacularly successful in creating a citizenry of literate 19th-century yeoman with the skills needed to read a ballot, measure a fence, or avoid getting cheated by the other party at the market.

Children also learned massive amounts of material needed to succeed in the adult world outside of the classroom. The traditional school calendar was structured to allow kids to help bring in the harvest, skills they’d eventually need after taking over the family farm. When something broke, they helped fix it. If it ran away, they’d find it. “The three R’s” — reading, writing and arithmetic — were seen as part of a well-rounded education, but not its sole focus.

Seeds - System - Demise - Case - Attempt

The seeds for the current system’s demise were planted, as is so often the case, in an attempt at reform. In 1892, the Committee of Ten was convened by the National Education Association to standardize American high school education. The group’s...
(Excerpt) Read more at: The Daily Caller
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