The Three R’s

Just quickly…

Two things popped up on my twitter feed this morning that served to remind me of the nature of our reformery puppet-masters seeking to destroy enhance our education system.

First was this article on the Mind Shift blog. In brief, it talks about the enquiring minds of students and how science is able to develop this aspect. Here’s a quote from parent Elizabeth Hall midway through the article:

Hall says her state has created a culture of testing that has resulted in high rates of teacher burnout and low expectations.

A few paragraphs later comes:

There’s no enthusiasm from the teachers. There’s no love of science. There’s no showing these young people that science is important in their lives. It’s just another class.

And finally:

State and federal statistics show that at least one-third of all students entering higher education programs today need some kind of remedial or developmental course work.

Five minutes after reading this another twittering popped up on my BBC tweets where former keyboardist for prog-rock pioneers Yes, Rick Wakeman, laments on the fact music no longer exists in UK schools.

The former Yes keyboardist told BBC Radio 5 live’s Richard Bacon: “I do find it disappointing when I go into schools and it doesn’t exist anymore.”

He added, “It’s such a great shame because music and drama are a way for children and pupils to express themselves… who perhaps can’t express themselves well in academic ways.”

These two articles nicely highlight the narrowing of the curriculum that has occurred in the United States and the United Kingdom over the last two decades of “reform” and privatisation.

Teachers are facing burnout from high levels of stress brought on by the pressures of high stakes testing. Burnout is literally that – that initial spark ignited in the teacher as they left school, wondered about their place in the world and decided to mentor the younger people of the world has been totally extinguished.

The teacher has been redefined as the test administrator (I am reminded of those retired knitters who would hobble up and down the isles while I sat my university exams).

If you are burnt-out, there is little motivation to either remain in your job or, if you decide to stay, to be the most productive you can be. Students in the US are now having to undertake remedial courses to begin their university careers because they aren’t getting the necessary education from the primary and secondary sectors in that country.

Finally Rick Wakeman expresses his concern that music no longer exists in British schools. Again this is linked to the forced narrowing of the curriculum by continued reforms and the sense of constant crisis that has been created by the media and politicians. If there is no outlet for creativity, kids will turn off school – particularly if said kids are not as good as the constant written work reading, writing and mathematics offer.

At some point soon as the United Kingdom and the United States, united in the educatory destruction, continue failing in spite of all the years of reform, you’d think some bright spark in politics would just put an end to it.

Or not. Since this neoliberal education policy is run by corporates for corporates. It has absolutely nothing to do with children or their learning.

I’ll maybe try to squeeze out something a bit more positive before Christmas.

Mr B.

Sources:

Kids want to know: How is science relevant – Mind Shift (KQED blogs), December 17, 2013.

Rick Wakeman: Music ‘doesn’t exist’ in schools – BBC News, December 17, 2013.

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