“Time to panic about kid’s education”

A recently released report has some sobering news for American parents. Children in the U.S. are falling further behind world standards in education. Some of that may be due to an increasing focus in other nations, but it’s alarming that the American system isn’t able to keep pace.

LZ Granderson writing on CNN’s blog makes this point:

“In the span of one generation, we’ve fallen from first to ninth in the proportion of young people with college degrees, which I guess isn’t a total surprise considering newly released ACT scores revealed that only one high school graduate in four in the class of 2011 could meet the benchmarks for college readiness in all four core subjects.

Combine that with our global ranking of 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math, and it would seem our education standing is in far worse shape today than our basketball footing was in 1988.

But instead of our educational equivalent of a Jordan or Magic putting their egos aside for the sake of the country, we have teacher unions fighting politicians and poor districts facing even deeper cuts.

In other words, we’re closer to the Bad News Bears than any Dream Team when it comes to education.”

More here.

The Church has a role to play as advocate for children in society. Especially so because the poorest and the most marginal of children are the most likely to not be given the sort of education that is essential for the citizens of a successful democracy.

What about the education of the young within the Church though? Are we keeping pace? As the economy has continued to sputter here in Arizona, one of the most common responses congregations seem to be making it to let their Christian Educators go. It appears that children’s christian formation is being seen as an option rather than a necessity.

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  1. LZ opens with how our sports crazed nation reacted to getting a bronze metal instead of a gold in Men’s Basketball, leading to the creation of the Dream Team. Why are so unwilling to react with the same kind of passion (get our most talented to work on education) when we fall behind in education?

    In the church, it seems that children/youth education is either delegated to the most junior staff position (most likely to be cut or move on), and apparently not worth the rector’s time? Yes, clergy must delegate things, but why is it often children’s education that gets left out of importance to Sr. Clergy/lay educators?

  2. Keepercaines34

    (oops…that was me, Kurt Wiesner)

  3. Murdoch Matthew

    . . . we have teacher unions fighting politicians . . .

    No, we have politicians fighting unions of all sorts on behalf of their corporate sponsors. What is the fight in Wisconsin about, but getting rid of public employees’ unions?

    I’ve just read today about a large for-profit corporation that is taking over public libraries across the country. Cash-strapped local governments turn the libraries over to the corporation, which fires all the union employees and hires (some) of them back at lower wages and benefits. But the corporation makes its profit.

    Unions have their downsides (they have been socially conservative and resist change), but their limitations pale against corporate greed and excesses. They are a bulwark for workers in a very uneven playing field. I’m sorry to see the Café letting union-busting propaganda slip through the filter.

  4. tgflux

    What MM said!

    JC Fisher

  5. IT

    What can we expect? As a culture, we have no respect for intellectual attainment or education. Think of the sneers and resentment directed towards “those ivory tower folks.” We idolize sports heroes and actors, not thinkers, and worry about “self esteem” in the classroom, but not on the playing field.

    One of the striking findings from previous studies is that American children have an unrealistically positive view of their achievements– the equivalent of “every child is above average.” They actually think they are pretty good.

    Meanwhile, we have a major political party that prefers ideology to evidence. Consider the anti-science views they espouse, including “opposition” to evolution, climate change, sex-education, medical views of homosexuality… the list goes on.

    Then combine this with anti-immigrant views that keep the best-and-the-brightest from coming to the US, and you have a recipe for economic downfall. Societies that value education, rather than ridicule it, are the ones poised to become economic leaders.

    The US is poised to become a country of know-nothings.

    –Susan Forsburg

  6. Murdoch Matthew:

    While I don’t disagree with what you say, I don’t think that the author was making a judgement call against unions and for politicians. I think he was saying that the wrong battles are being fought. Personally, I would have listed it the other way around (politicians fighting teachers unions), but I don’t see this as commentary on what has been happening in Wisconsin. I see the article clearly calling for everyone to work together to strengthen education.

    -Kurt Wiesner

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