>My position is that the issues currently affecting >student performance are not addressable by educators. >They are extracurricular. People are starting to see >that and connect the havoc to that.
You are much too kind to the educators. While it may be true that, ultimately, it is not in their power to erase The Gap, specific practices by the educators certainly make things worse. Take, for example, the Whole Language method of reading instruction, so beloved of educators. For children like your son, who go home everyday to literate parents with an active interest in their education, Whole Language does little or no harm. For the child who actually depends on the school to learn reading, Whole Language is a disaster from which he may never recover.
Just the same with fuzzy math. Fuzzy math does not matter to your son because he has you. Too bad for the child who actually has to learn math in school.
So, whether it is Whole Langue or Fuzzy Math or Inventive Spelling, etc., these are practices that can only "exasperate" :) The Gap. These practices exasperate me too.
The problem, quite simply, is that The Prime Directive is unattainable. The Education Mafia learned very early on that if they teach an academic curriculum, potentially severe Gaps must arise. Consequently, whether by intent or by a long, semi-Darwinian process, academic content has been leeched out of the schools. But, this can only make matters worse because of parents like you. Parents like you mitigate the harm to their own children. Too bad for children who actually depend upon the schools for their education.
Bob, I thought you made an excellent earlier point regarding The Prime Directive. Some years ago the Education Mafia had some low hanging fruit to pick: get children into school and keep them there. That fruit has long since been picked. Since then, the Education Mafia have been severely abusing the statistics, and still they have not been able to narrow The Gap.
Precisely because we know the Education Mafia abuse the statistics, I have long maintained that, bad as the numbers are (and they are very bad), reality is very much worse.