*Only 43 percent of all U.S. high school students knew that the Civil War was fought some time between 1850 and 1900.Read the rest HERE at The American Dream.
*More than a quarter of all U.S. high school students thought that Christopher Columbus made his famous voyage across the Atlantic Ocean after the year 1750.
*Approximately a third of all U.S. high school students did not know that the Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
*Only 60 percent of all U.S. students knew that World War I was fought some time between 1900 and 1950.
[According to a 2009 study of high school students in Oklahoma]:
What is the supreme law of the land? 28 percent [answered correctly]
What do we call the first ten amendments to the Constitution? 26 percent [answered correctly]
What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress? 27 percent [answered correctly]
How many justices are there on the Supreme Court? 10 percent [answered correctly]
Who wrote the Declaration of Independence? 14 percent [answered correctly]
What ocean is on the east coast of the United States? 61 percent
What are the two major political parties in the United States? 43 percent
We elect a U.S. senator for how many years? 11 percent
Who was the first President of the United States? 23 percent [answered correctly]
Who is in charge of the executive branch? 29 percent
In my view, one of the causes of the disaster that is our education system is the emphasis on promoting self-esteem, particularly the promotion of fake self-esteem. Lo and behold! Along comes THIS ARTICLE in the January 15, 2012 edition of the Washington Post. Excerpt:
In schools, self-esteem boosting is losing favor to rigor, finer-tuned praisePlease read THE ENTIRE ARTICLE. Note that it took decades of research to figure out that promoting self-esteem at the expense of learning doesn't work.
For decades, the prevailing wisdom in education was that high self-esteem would lead to high achievement. The theory led to an avalanche of daily affirmations, awards ceremonies and attendance certificates — but few, if any, academic gains.
Now, an increasing number of teachers are weaning themselves from what some call empty praise....
Underlying the praise backlash is a hard seed of anxiety — a sense that American students are not working hard enough to compete with students from overseas for future jobs....
The Washington Post article struck a chord with me. I recall my teacher training (1970-1972) and all the emphasis place on instilling self-esteem in students and on avoiding the memorization of facts. As as Spanish major, I kept pointing out that no substitute exists for memorizing vocabulary lists; my words very nearly got me booted from the program. Later on, around 1996, I was instructed by the administration of the private school where I worked at the time not to mark x's on the wrong answers but rather to circle the correct answers — with a purple pen and not a red one. Mustn't "traumatize" the students! To facilitate the use of purple instead of red, the school administration gave us a stock of purple pens and confiscated a red pen wherever they found one. Yes, administrators there regularly searched the teachers' desks to enforce the no-red-ink rule.
The philosophy of self-esteem at all costs is but one cause of the problems with our educational system. Feel free to list other causes in the comments section to this post.
Of more importance....How do we solve the problem(s) with our education system? Or is it too late?