Saturday, May 5, 2007

Why the U.S. Scores Poorly on International Achievement Tests

As an addendum to the post below on Singapore:

Here is a copy of the results of the TIMSS exam given in several nations around the world on page 9. The study is worth printing out. Singapore ranks at the top, all of the Confucian Asian countries are at the top of the rankings, and the U.S. ranks at the bottom of the industrialized nations, thanks to "progressive" techniques employed by the left-wing education establishment.

Three recommendations--I found each of them invaluable in my Master of Education--for every person interested in education policy and history of American education:

1) The Learning Gap: Why Our Schools Are Failing and What We Can Learn from Japanese and Chinese Education by Harold W. Stevenson and James W. Stigler. This book explains why the East Asian countries are doing so well in mathematics and science achievement tests. Hint: It is not because they use "progressive" techniques of education, like ruthless "progressive" professors attempt to trick young, gullible future teachers with very little foreign experience into believing.

It also explains why the U.S. is doing so poorly, despite our powerhouse economy and all the money in the world to throw at schools. Hint: It has to do with liberals' "progressive" teaching techniques that have been in public schools for the past 80 years or so.

2) The Schools We Need: And Why We Don't Have Them by E.D. Hirsch Jr. This is a wonderful gem of a book. Thankfully, the excellent Social Foundations head of the UVA academic center in Northern Virginia, Bernadette Black, though a Deweyan liberal herself, was fair and balanced in providing students with all perspectives (just as education schools should be but rarely are; the UVA Social Foundations program at the Northern Virginia academic center because it can draw from all the Washington think tanks is an exception).

In The Schools We Need, a highly influential book that "progressives" detest because it is so accurate, Hirsch argues clearly and persuasively that the U.S. is failing students and parents because "progressives" have a suspicious view of academic matter. They think schools are for everything under the sun except academic achievement. As such, they then actually perpetuate social inequities because their bogus "progressive" techniques that have failed and have been recycled under different names for the past 80 years or so are the dominant forms of teaching in the public schools. Because so many students lack "intellectual capital" from early on in elementary schools, they have nothing to build upon in higher grades. These "progressive" theories of education have harmed American children's desire and ability to learn.

Very valuable glossary of "progressive" terms and jargon that often fools Americans into thinking the terms mean one thing, e.g. "discovery learning" when the terms mean something completely different is in the back of The Schools We Need, and is worth the purchase price itself.

3) Finally, a fantastic 20th century history of American education by Diane Ravitch, Columbia University PhD, foremost authority on the history of American education and, in particular, the New York City public school system, and scholar at several think tanks: Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform. This is an invaluable tool for anyone interested in the history and philosophy of our education system here in America and why the schools have had so many problems and have not lived up to their promise.

Most libraries should have the three books, but each is definitely worth purchasing as a reference.


Anonymous said...

hey Gabe, Allah and God are one in the same. I suggest you read up on a few things too including right wing religious fundamentalists camping out for readings in the nations capital.

Gabe said...

Anonymous 231- I wrote an answer over at Matt Sanchez's blog, but he sometimes doesn't approve long comments.

I studied in Malaysia a few years ago. God and Allah are not the same. The feeling that you get entering a Catholic cathedral and a mosque are completely different because the worshippers are not worshiping the same God.

Allah, the god of the Koran, and the God of Jews, Catholics, and Protestants are completely different entities, and this is reflected in the mores of the faithful of both religions.

Allah is capricious, vengeful, and ever-changing (which is why science is not traditionally prized in Arab countries) who has a Heaven of pornography and sensualism. God is perfect, unchanging, love, and truth who gave His only Son to die for our sins for our redemption. Catholics thus have a positive and holy view of the body (statues and art with a belief that the body is a temple of God) whereas Muslims have a negative perception of the body (not holy, good only for base sensualism, women must be covered, iconoclasm).

We have unchanging truths that apply to everyone. Muslims only offer relativism, one rule for themselves and another for infidels. Allah, the moon god of the Arabs, commands infidels to die for him. There is no concept of the Incarnation or salvation.

God and Allah are not the same.

Anonymous said...

All your words about God and Allah have nothing to do with nothing. It is all interpretation and all a bunch of hooey. I do agree that Matt Sanchez, that closet hustler who hates himself, does not post all of his responses. this is Ewe.