FAILING SCHOOLS, FAILING COUNTRY

by michael on March 21, 2012

I just read this article the status of U S education and the relationship to U S education to national security. The report of the task force, co-chaired by former secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein, present a bleak assessment of the quality of student produced by our education system.

I read the fragments of dissenting opinions offered by some participants and found them to be illogical and not related to the topic. Regrettably, the primary conclusion of the report was the need to spend more money on education. The article does not offer an insight into how spending more money will remedy the ills the committee identified.

Here are a few paragraphs from the article. Read the entire article by this link.  U S Education a Risk to National Security

WASHINGTON — (TCSM) Nearly 30 years after the landmark education report “A Nation at Risk,” a new report finds that America’s failure to prepare its young people for a globalized world is now so grave that it poses a national security threat.

Some of the key factors that the report cites in linking education shortcomings and a weakened national security: insufficient preparation of children for the highly technical jobs that both the private sector and the military increasingly need to fill, scant and declining foreign-language education, and a weakened “national cohesiveness” as a result of an under-educated and unemployable poor population.

“Educational failure puts the United States’ future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk,” says the report, the result of an independent task force cochaired by former secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former New York City schools chancellor Joel Klein.

Noting that the “dominant power of the 21st century will depend on human capital,” the report concludes that “the failure to produce that capital will undermine American security.”

Ms. Rice on Tuesday zeroed in on signs of faltering national cohesion as at the “heart” of the vast and complex issues addressed in the report.

Education is “the glue that keeps us together,” she said at an event in Washington Tuesday at the Council on Foreign Relations, which sponsored the task force. A factor weakening that glue, she said, is the “perception of a smaller and smaller group that is advancing in America.” She added, “If we are not one nation, we cannot defend one nation.”

The report cites a series of indicators of America’s educational weaknesses — from US students’ disappointing placement on international rankings of math and science competencies, to recent reports out of the Defense Department that three-fourths of young Americans are not qualified to join the armed forces (although physical conditions such as obesity, and not just educational shortcomings, play a role in that number).

The US is not producing enough foreign-language speakers to fill key positions in the Foreign Service, in intelligence agencies, and in America’s increasingly global companies.

And yet, Rice said, “We are the most monolingual major society on Earth.”

To reverse the nation’s education slide, the task force offers a number of recommendations, one of which is a longer school day and a longer school year. “We have the shortest learning day and the shortest learning year practically of all [countries] in the industrialized world,” Rice said.

The task force’s three main recommendations:

  • Putting more emphasis on children learning science, technology, and foreign languages, in addition to reading and math.
  • Preparation by the states, in conjunction with the federal government, of what the report calls a “national security readiness audit.” This would measure how schools are doing at teaching “the skills and knowledge necessary to safeguard America’s future security and prosperity.”
  • Increasing school choice and competition, namely by charter schools and vouchers — within an environment of “equitable resource allocation.”

More later

 

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