Everyone has an opinion or two about the emphasis that should be put on education—especially during an election year. Things like standards, goals, metrics, ranking systems, and test scores--not to mention vouchers and charter schools--are all part of the education debate.
I’m not sure, however, if any debaters even mention that the 2008 meaning of the word, “educated,” may be somewhat different from what it was in 1950 and even different from what it was in 1900, etc. Things do change – really.
To think that we can continue to teach and evaluate today’s students in the same way that students were taught and evaluated in 1950 or whenever may be unrealistic. And, there seems to be special concern over whether or not students have “gained” from one year to the next. How this can be accomplished with a paper/pencil multiple-guess-type test has never been clear to me. Whether or not students have learned anything may not be apparent for a while. Students do not really learn according to someone’s time-table as might be inferred in the very familiar saying. “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” Or, as my daddy used to tell me, “Boy, one day you will understand.”
Kinda makes you wonder why sometimes students who struggled through and hated high school wind up doing very well in college.
And speaking of testing, the other nugget comes to mind. “You can’t fatten a pig by weighing it over and over.”