Wednesday, October 01, 2003


Thomas Sowell has a useful short review of the new book about education called No Excuses by A & S Thernstrom. I liked the bit about U.S. university graduates not being able to get teaching jobs in the public schools because they do not have one of those dreary teacher's certificates. I had the same experience myself here in Australia once. I taught matriculation level Economics and Geography in two private schools with excellent results but was then rejected for a teaching job in a government school because I did not have one of those useless teaching diplomas. Results counted for nothing. Phony "credentials" were all that mattered.

Another point the Thernstoms make is confirmed by the OECD -- which reported last week that there is no correlation between increased education funding and achievement and there is no correlation between smaller class sizes and achievement.

How surprising! "Alyssa Edmonds's report cards have been a string of paper trophies -- grades of 'E' for excellent, 'VG' for very good. But when her mother saw her 11-year-old's poor state test scores last year, she worried for the first time that the North Adams schools might be failing her children. 'I would like to know why my daughter ... didn't test at grade level but passed all her subjects and was passed into the next grade,' said Mary Edmonds, 40, a mental health worker who grew up in North Adams. 'I want to know why my kids aren't being taught what the state thinks they need to know to graduate and get a diploma.'"

Why American students don't love this country: "A report from the Albert Shanker Institute says that American school students are getting a slanted view of our nation's history. ... It would be hard to have pride in your country, if you realized that your government handed down orders within itself to launch a military-style operation, tanks and all, against American citizens who were simply acting out their non-violent religious beliefs..... But there's something else, something this report fails notice or point out. While going on at length about the lack of positive education regarding American history and principles, nowhere does it mention that the schools are active instruments of socialist indoctrination."

Good to see USA Today editorializing in favour of the Washington D.C. voucher program. And they have done it again here.

And some Australian schools in Muslim immigrant areas are pretty bad too.


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