Diane Ravitch was one of the architects of No Child Left Behind, but in her new book she now admits that it isn't working, and is in fact helping kill the kind of education she advocates. She continues to believe that the American public schools do a poor job, and that we can build a much more successful system of public education.In 1983.
I agree with her on the first point. She's dead wrong on the second. We can't build a better system.
That's not a cry of despair, it's a statement of fact. There is never going to be a national school system much better than what we have now. It may get worse, but it won't get much better.
In 1983 the National Commission on Education, headed by Nobel Laureate Glenn T. Seaborg, wrote that "If a foreign nation had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war." I've been pointing this out for years. We have a system of public education indistinguishable from an enemy attack -- and it has been getting worse since the Seaborg report.
I graduated from High School in 1980.
The whole thing is quotable, and I'm going to archive it in my records, but I came across something else today that is a perfect companion to Pournelle's spot-on diagnosis. From a comment at American Digest to his piece Somebody's Been Raising A Generation of Schmucks:
As the webmaster of an educational resource site for the humanities, we hold focus groups of teachers to get feedback on our site and its content. One teacher from one of D.C.'s tonier private schools pointed out that they no longer teach the "military aspect" of our nation's wars. She said (in refrence to WWII in particular) they focused on things like the home front, Japanese internment, A. Phillip Randolph and civil rights -- you know, the important stuff -- but NO "military history." An astonished history teacher at the table turned to her and asked, "but Susan, do your students at least know who WON World War II?" - Don Rodrigo.It's already worse. The suck just isn't evenly spread around.