In all the hubbub about common core, which is already starting to create havoc in our schools systems, I seldom see anyone ask what type of product our school systems need to produce. To look at some of the exam questions today the answer might be that we are trying to produce avid environmentalists, or crusaders for social justice. Instead of molding our youth to become successful career minded, conscientious, independently thinking positive contributing members of society we are inundating them with propaganda and government approved theories of how society ought to function.
Yes, education should accomplish specific things. Below is a list of the things I see that should be part of a minimal education. Judge for yourself, but I do not see our system as doing these things consistently.
1.) Reading — every child should graduate high school and be literate.
2.) Writing — every child should be able to write coherently.
3.) Arithmetic — every child should have master addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication and basic Algebra.
4.) American History — every child should know why we exist and the history behind out Constitution.
5.) World History — every child should have a general understanding of world history, of empires and wars, atrocities, and governments.
4.) Science — every child should have a firm foundation in chemistry, physics, and biology.
5.) Economics — every child needs to understand how goods and services are produced and how that results opportunity.
6.) Critical thinking and memorization — every child should be taught critical thinking skills and be required to memorize substantial amounts of material ranging from history to multiplication tables. The most important thing education can do is train children’s minds so that they can absorb the skills needed in an ever increasingly technological world.
You can teach someone a set of manual skills which when that process becomes automated those skills become out of date. However, if you train someone how to manage the automation they can now work in multiple industries at a higher wage than when it was just manual labor. Further, if schools will provide their students with basic set of work conventions and expectations skills then the graduates would be better prepared to support themselves and their families.
Education in this country has been on path where it is not meeting the goals outlined above. Nevertheless it costs more than ever. It is not about the money, it is about the curriculum and the time focused on having standards for the students. Many of the processes in Common Core, although advertised as creating those standards, actually lowers the standards and dumbs down the curriculum. That is why home-schooled children often outperform their in public school counterparts. If the focus was education and met the goals above our society would reach new heights.