The “Sovietisation of Education”

This is a very, very real phenomenon.  And it’s going to do permanent damage to educational institutions (and not just higher ones).

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  1. drteine

     /  May 15, 2009

    I don’t disagree with the blog post at the site – but – this appears to be UK centric, and the UK education system is very very different than the system used in the US.
    Both of my kids go to public schools and take the standardized tests that are all the rage now here and abroad. I find in general that my kids and all their friends do just fine as they’re still given plenty of non-standardized stimulation outside of preparation for the test. My kid’s English teacher has been promoting the use of comic books/graphic novels/mythology to promote reading and the local school management completely backs him on it. So while the article is troubling, I think the damage may be UK only, because their school system is so rigid to begin with and they’ve never really had a culture of creativity in schooling until on reaches state-sponsored higher education.
    Or that’s my opinion based upon facts I know and talking with colleagues who are products of the UK education system.

  2. happycrow

     /  May 15, 2009

    The damage very much isn’t merely UK. We are under constant pressure to de-emphasize critical thinking skills in favor of “regurgitate this data for the scantron,” and many HS students coming into my classes have never been taught such skills at all, and have to be taught them from the ground up.

  3. drteine

     /  May 15, 2009

    Well…that is a problem, but maybe could be the point of a college education? To learn how to think critically?

    I don’t know. Certainly it is a disservice to those in the public school education system to not get these skills until after they graduate, but I do wonder if it’s school system specific. Maybe some districts are better at balancing the needs to pass standard tests and teach critical thinking/problem solving while others are simply focused on passing the tests. Certainly we have the standard tests in force here in OH, but overall I feel the schools are pretty good at teaching my kids what they need to know, some basics at independent though, and I fill in the rest.

    Still, what you’re pointing out is a problem – I’m just not sure it’s as bad as made out in the original post, at least US-wide anyway.

  4. happycrow

     /  May 15, 2009

    The point is that it’s being driven from the feds, just as the Samizdata post suggests. Actual teachers have been grumpling about it for a while now.

  5. Mike

     /  May 16, 2009

    If you are waiting until College to work on critical thinking you are really behind it. It could be my background (public education in a farm community) but we were using that skill in high school. We never called it that, but that was what it was. The fun part of it was that it wasn’t so much in the school work side of the house as to more of the after-school club stuff. Things such as “our musicals never sound any good because the gym blows for accoustics, maybe we can try the cafeteria?” Or “our tackling dummies don’t work so well, maybe we can modify the sled with some creative welding?” Our school and facilty never had the “this was always the way so do it this way” line of thinking, we were not so much encouraged as expected to try something else.

  6. Yep. That’s why a lot of kids who take shop come out more capable than those sitting in the honors courses.

    But seriously, the educational system has changed radically since we were in it. Repairing mis-educated high-schoolers is 75% of why I have a job in community college.

  7. convivialdingo

     /  May 25, 2009

    Indeed it is a problem! The “solution” seems to be having CC classes available to HS students beginning in grade 10. I’d love to hear opinions on this trend.

  8. convivialdingo

     /  May 25, 2009

    CD = celegomama. logins!


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