This is Part 1 of a three-part series about U.S. education in broad terms and eventually narrows its focus to the role of parents: specifically, their involvement in after-school activities and study times.
On January 18th Thomas Friedman, Op-Ed Columnist for the “New York Times,” gave President Obama a “homework assignment:” to consider using a recent speech of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as the State of the Union address.
Mr. Friedman felt that the secretary’s speech shines the spotlight on problems in U.S. learning that are growing more serious each year and should be disturbing us all. The columnist would like to see a national discussion that focuses on this topic. So would I. It has prompted this three-part post. However, I am an educator and not a politician, so you must read these three posts with that in mind.
Here are some items from the Duncan speech:
- “America now ranks 22nd in math skills and 14th in reading among industrialized countries…”
- “In today’s knowledge-based, global economy, jobs will go, more and more, to the best-educated workforce…. Your children aren’t competing just with children in your district or state—they are competing with children across the world.”
Now, some would like you to believe that our mediocre achievement results are due just to… large numbers of low-income and minority students…Not true…While we’ve been treading water, other countries have moved ahead.
- “…right now, South Korea—and quite a few other countries—are offering students more, and demanding more…”
Duncan’s speech goes on to cite ways to improve our lagging educational status in the world, one of which is parents’ involvement. Mr. Friedman agrees, “…too many parents and too many kids just don’t take education seriously enough and don’t want to put in the work needed today to really excel.” That’s the focus of Part 2.
Find out more things parents should know about college un-readiness and how to prevent it.