President Barack Obama is proposing giving American education about $50 billion more dollars to use on improving “test scores” and other such ideas on how to measure what is being taught. On one hand, Obama believes the automobile industry should cease producing cars that are out of date and invent a new generation of cars, but, on the other hand, he does not see any need for schools to invent a new concept of education that fits life in the 21st century. Sending billions of dollars to the current system of schooling is wasting billions of dollars. Obama had an interesting opportunity to spark a new approach to education, but he has decided to continue the current failed way of thinking about education.
Obama wants to spark “competition” by encouraging Charter Schools and then measure success by some form of testing. This approach comes down to dumbing down the nation and preventing teachers from doing the real job of 21st century education– educate youth to be critical and creative thinkers so we can reinvigorate our society by producing young people who can invent new forms of industry, be global thinkers to understand the need for new approaches in dealing with people throughout the world, and, above all, be individuals who understand how one learns. Learning how to learn is the most important skill for life in this century and this can not be tested on a test.
Charter School operators are not stupid. They understand if the criteria for “success” is test scores then they teach children to pass tests. Doesn’t Obama even understand that basic rule of schools? But, creative and critical thinking can NOT be measured on a written test, only a teacher working with children and posing them problems to solve can measure success. The Obama education approach simply a Ponzi scheme to waste $50 billion instead of using the money to unleash the creative thinking of educators.
First, we need to understand what is needed for a modern education. Obama would be better off asking Billy Gates to head up a new commission to: Identify 21st century skills and thinking that should be the basis of education; then identify how that education should be delivered to children. Instead, we have more of the test mania which dumbs down every aspect of education. It also fails with about 30% of students.
As an Obama supporter I am shocked by his old fashioned conservative approach to dealing with education. How anyone can accuse Obama of being a “radical” or a “Socialist” is incomprehensible. He is conservative to the core on education.