The one constancy in the history of modern education is failure on the part of any society to create meaningful education for those students who are not initially in life interested in what passes for an “academic” program. In all too many cases, students who do well in academic courses learn to regurgitate to teachers what they want to hear while those who find teachers boring receive poor grades. Most young people who succeed in the K-12 education system are excellent at putting up with boring teachers and pretending they are learning.
Professor Alison Wolf of King’s College in London issued a report which claims a high percent of students are being placed in a vocational education program in order to allow schools to have higher scores on mandated tests. Fifteen years ago, then Governor George Bush of Texas boasted of high test scores in his state. It was later proved that schools encouraged students who would do poorly on tests to remain home the day of testing. Wolf points out that over half students in vocational programs do not even receive a C passing grade in Math and English.
The issue is how do we create educational programs that are meaningful to 21st century young people? Memorizing dates in social studies requires the ability to handle boredom more than display the ability to think.