The Global Achievement Gap

08_global_achievement_gap The Global Achievement Gap by Tony Wagner brings attention to a problem that will greatly affect future generations of Americans, and has already begun to affect us now. That problem is that our children are not being prepared to compete in the global market. Jobs are being shipped overseas, and not just blue collar jobs such as manufacturing, but at a staggering rate we are seeing our white collar jobs disappear, too.

This is because our children, from low income school districts to the top schools in the nation, are being taught to the test as a result of No Child Left Behind. There is no room in the curriculum for teaching students how to be critical thinkers and problem solvers. Our children will not learn how to lead by influence, they will not learn adaptability. Their oral and written skills will be sub par and their curiosity, creativity and imagination will not be encouraged. They will learn about government but not how to be a good citizen. Instead, they are rewarded for memorizing facts to be regurgitated on multiple choice standardized tests. No wonder we’re falling behind.

The next President has a great challenge ahead. Tossing NCLB into the rubbish bin will not suffice. This is a must read for educators, government officials and parents.

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2 Comments

Filed under books, change, kids, opinion

2 responses to “The Global Achievement Gap

  1. Lynn

    The jobs are not disappearing because of the education system here. They are disappearing because of corporate greed. The jobs are not going to better educated people. They are going to the work houses overseas where children who have NO education work sometimes 16 hours a day for minimal pay.

    Can you give an example of a white collar job that has gone overseas? Is it the corporate headquarters?

    I too think that the ‘No Child Left Behind’ may have had good intentions but fails miserably in some school districts but I honestly cannot say that has been the case in my school district. As a matter of fact my children WERE taught, at school, what it means to be a good citizen and community service was a high school graduation requirement.

  2. Tee

    Lynn – Your point about corporate greed is equally valid – and perhaps it is responsible for even more job loss than the education issue – but the education issue can’t be ignored.

    While I agree that many of the jobs are not going to better educated people (i.e. manufacturing jobs, customer service jobs, etc.) – but to people who will do the job for less – that is not the case for all jobs.

    An example of a white collar job gone overseas? How about a few:
    Jobs in engineering, architecture, software code writing, accounting. Search Google for “white collar jobs shipped overseas” and you will see many examples of this.

    I’m glad that NCLB has been beneficial for your school district, but we can’t use something that works well for such a small percentage.

    My children have also been fortunate so far in getting a good education. While they don’t attend a school that is prestigious in any sort of way, the teachers and administrators in our county seem to care very much and have done an excellent job, despite the challenges. I think that having parents that care very much about their education, has not hurt my children either. As Barack Obama has said, no government can turn the T.V. off and make a child do his homework. There is plenty of blame to go around – and uninvolved or apathetic parents do not get a free pass from me.

    When I graduated high school, I too had community service as a graduation requirement – and I think that is fantastic. I would like to see more of this type of thing in schools – there just isn’t enough of it, in my opinion.

    Our government class which was mandatory in 11th grade (and I went to a very good school district), taught us the mechanics and history of U.S. government – but looking back, I would have liked it to teach critical thinking skills. There should be discussion about media, issues, smear campaigns, third party candidates, government in other countries, how our policy here at home affects the rest of the world, etc.

    The fact remains that the majority of teachers are forced to “teach to the test”. Children must memorize facts and there is little time for anything else… Some teachers are better at working their way around this and have very effective, well rounded classrooms – and I admire them very much. My older sister is one such teacher.

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