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zenpundit

Cannot say that I agree. I know where you are going with this and it's well-intentioned but the reality of would be counterintuitive.

Much like the terrible decision to start calling history class "Social Studies" in the early 60's, the Ed bureaucracy would use this format to justify hiring even fewer subject matter experts than they do now and more basically ignorant but cheaply available education majors. Or to force personnel to teach out of field ( "English lit major to teach physics II, PE to teach history - no problem) because it is administratively conventient when slotting the master schedule.

Mathematics, science and history instruction are mediocre in this country primarily because half or more of the teachers in those fields are unqualified in the sense that they lack at least an undergraduate degree in those content areas. Some teach with as little as 9 hours or even none at all in violation of federal law and most state school codes.

You cannot very well explain and teach what you yourself do not understand even the fundamentals of.

Jessica Margolin

Thank you for your thoughtful commentary!

I absolutely and without reservation agree with you about the subject matter expertise. And I really wouldn't want to go back to the free-for-all of the 60's and 70's.

However, with a child almost through K-12 in public schools, and after many years of non-profit activity in the sector, I personally believe that it really does go far beyond that.

It seems to me that the frames with which education is delivered are askew. There is no formal mechanism by which doing research online is taught, for example. While students whose parents have computers in the home and can guide them in learning such skill do okay, the other students don't.

Multiply this: no spreadsheet or typing, no collaboration or conflict management skills -- in fact social skills developed from observing behaviors of their parents and friends, most of whom were unsuccessful academically. (This is the reason why preschool is of such benefit in low socio-economic groups but not particularly relevant in middle class.)

zenpundit

"It seems to me that the frames with which education is delivered are askew."

They are indeed. A 19th century agrarian calendar and Lancastrian room arrangement are fused with an early 20th century Taylorist/industrial mass-production society master schedule are used to prepare kids for an adulthood where today's kindergarten student will not retire until around 2080.

"There is no formal mechanism by which doing research online is taught, for example."

There is not even agreement here at the university level re: online citations, research etc. Won't be until the current generation of senior profs are gone.

"While students whose parents have computers in the home and can guide them in learning such skill do okay, the other students don't."

The digital divide is also intellectual not just socioeconomic. There are many UMC households with multiple computers and broadband where it is the children and not the parents who understand how to navigate the net.

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