This year marks the 30th anniversary of the landmark report on education in the United States. It was the impetus for much of the education reform of the 80’s and 90’s. Education Week looked at what has happened since then, which is shown in the infographics below from their article.
Several important things to notice are;
- Reading and math scores have barely moved
- Graduation rates have dropped and stayed low
- When adjusted for inflation, teacher salaries have barely increased since 1981.
- Public confidence has dropped in public education
We have to make changes and it is not about directly holding teachers accountable, although they are part of the equation. It is about recognizing that we knew so little about how a child’s brain worked then and know so much more now. But, and this is a bit but, this knowledge is not being taught to our teachers, it is not being utilized in our classrooms, and is not becoming part of how we approach children both socially and academically. Schools were originally formed to provide children with the training they needed to be responsible, productive members of society. The focus has changed over the decades to just showing academic success. Employers are complaining that their new employees don’t know how to think for themselves, don’t understand how to organize, prioritize, and problem solve. The work ethic is missing. This is not about not doing homework, it is about not seeing a useful outcome from work put into an effort. If a child is struggling academically due to neurodevelopmental problems, which affect one child in six, production line education doesn’t work.
Let’s make a new 30 year plan to truly reform education to address how the brain works, how to understand and help the students that need more time, more one-on-one, and more variety in how they are taught. Give the teachers the training and tools to do this, and then hold them accountable.
Would you like a copy of my free report on oppositional children? Click here.