>Having spent a little time in European schools, I tend to agree, but I think >it's important to realize the key reason that America is different. This is >the fact that we have a committment(at least theoretically) to educate every
>child. Instead of throwing out kids who don't keep up, we try to find >a way to reach them. While this clearly leads to inefficiencies, we should >think very carefully before abandoning this committment.
I, too, went to school in Europe for a year. It was the American School of Paris, but most of the teachers were French and it was an entirely different system. You were expected to master the material, or else. As a result, I learned to study that year, and I came back to American high school the next year, a pretty good student. However, I would not want something quite as draconian as the baccalaureat exam.
We should really think about a vast effort to implement true vocational training on the German model of "dual education". I think too many of the reforms are aimed at the academic level. Most kids would be more turned on by learning something directly related to a trade or a profession. Then I think these kids might develop a desire for higher education.
>The consequences of not educating our less motivated and able students >are far greater and more real than any AP test scores. Unfortunately, >these consequences seem too far removed from schools to be motivating for >teachers or students. I don't know if this is what you meant, but I do >think it will take a change in societal outlook like the one you describe >to correct this situation. I'm just not convinced that exam-based >promotion like that in other countries is the best form for that change >to take.
Au contraire. My desire is to offer the same opportunity as the AP test to every math student. There should be an appropriate exam for each class given under AP conditions. Then we could work with ALL student under these conditions to master material and elevate our problem solving skills. This is what they're doing in NYC with the Regents Exams. And the effort is being praised by everyone. Teachers are signing up in record numbers for training according to the New York Times.
There's a book called "Class Action" which deals with this topic. I'll write about the major thesis of the book when I get some time.
Dan Hart LAUSD "We sell equity invented by the elite to the masses."