too easy for kids

The Poor Quality of an Undergraduate Education - NYTimes.com  Another in a long line of opinions and op eds where citizens weigh in on how we can improve education by everyone, especially the poor, trying harder.  We just need to knuckle down, we've all been having too good a time and we all want affordable housing which is asking a lot: look what it did to the banks.  If kids keep on just having a good time, we'll never get anything done around here.

The authors of the book Academically Adrift  have an op-ed that assumes that kids do not want rigor, that human beings must be pushed and prodded to do what they need to do.

The situation reflects a larger cultural change in the relationship between students and colleges. The authority of educators has diminished, and students are increasingly thought of, by themselves and their colleges, as “clients” or “consumers.” When 18-year-olds are emboldened to see themselves in this manner, many look for ways to attain an educational credential effortlessly and comfortably. And they are catered to accordingly. The customer is always right. 
And it is really the fault of programs that help the poor, that's where all this comes from after all.  It is like the poor people who could not find any affordable housing and so they caused the whole housing bubble by allowing mortgage companies to write them mortgages.  These Pell grant people are causing a lot of problems:
Federal legislation has facilitated this shift. The funds from Pell Grants and subsidized loans, by being assigned to students to spend on academic institutions they have chosen rather than being packaged as institutional grants for colleges to dispense, have empowered students — for good but also for ill. And expanded privacy protections have created obstacles for colleges in providing information on student performance to parents, undercutting a traditional check on student lassitude.
Wow, all those really educated people running our universities where they are doing rocket science for real, somehow, they forgot that they cannot assess the quality of teaching by asking the students.  Gee, you'd think that all those PhDs would have a better plan than that for running a university.  They sure make the bucks but then they got good grades and they deserve it. Fortunately, the ghostbusters are on the job and it's a good thing they caught this error:
Fortunately, there are some relatively simple, practical steps that colleges and universities could take to address the problem. Too many institutions, for instance, rely primarily on student course evaluations to assess teaching. This creates perverse incentives for professors to demand little and give out good grades. (Indeed, the 36 percent of students in our study who reported spending five or fewer hours per week studying alone still had an average G.P.A. of 3.16.) 
Are these guys serious?  I'm sure their answer to the this problem, wait for it,  more testing will work .... it's worked like a charm for the public schools.
Distributing resources and rewards based on student learning instead of student satisfaction would help stop this race to the bottom. 
I've heard this sentiment in a lot of places:  you can't let people  do what they want or they won't do anything.  You have to make people do stuff.  You can't listen to 18 and 19 year olds like they did in Egypt.  Rigor is important but it doesn't have to be achieved with fascism.

Don't confuse education with schooling.  Schooling, the long K-12 trek,  is credentialism, the fight and control of credentials: gatekeeping for jobs.  Education is something else, sometimes happening in schools and often not happening in schools.  Schools need to get out of the credential business and find out how to provide learning services for people to access and use democratically.

The computer industry was built by people who were mostly self-taught. Women moved into factory work pretty easily when WWII got underway.  The US was a highly literate society before schools came along.  The practical American has always been interested in learning and knowing what works to make a better income, a better life, etc.

Far from decreasing input, we should expand the evaluations and surveys across the board: parents and students should be asked a lot more.  Ask them what's wrong too and you will find out.  Ask them what they want and need.

background posts
unimportant data
voluntary attendance

make public schools truly public

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