I wonder if you actually realize what our young people are dealing with - a system that teaches content and information but not human beings.Not all schools are this way, but an increasing number of schools have lost site of the purpose of education - to produce the best humans - who are empathetic, problem solvers and informed citizens.It won’t be long until machines will have surpassed humans in many capacities and skills, many of which our schools are currently geared to develop.There is very little in the school system that is supportive of developing flourishing humans.Despite teachers who care, the system is so completely outdated and flawed, that as a parent, it is almost intolerable.
Let me give you a concrete example of what I mean.My daughter attends a highly ranked suburban public school in California.When I say “ranked” that means that the Academic Performance Index score is fairly high. This in itself is a complete sham, because if this school has a high API, I can’t imagine what some of the schools with low API scores are like. Right now, my daughter who is a bright math student is taking Trig Pre Calc Honors. This is a challenging class but it is also a completely worthless class. What could be both intellectually engaging and an optimal learning experience is a mess of worthless rules and bad pedagogy.Each week my daughter learns algorithms and formulas.She completes scores of problems that allow her to practice these algorithms and then she takes a series of tests and quizzes that demonstrate her ability to memorize these formulas and algorithms. Are we in 1989? This kind of learning is setting her up for being decimated in the workplace - not by other humans but by machines.
As a parent, of course I want my children tobe competitive in the work place someday, but that it not really what bothers me about this class.Here is what boggles my mind. When my daughter takes a test, she get it back sometimes two to three weeks later (mind you, this is a SCANTRON test, so we aren’t talking about tedious grading).By this time she has no connection to what she got right or wrong on the test.SHe is allowed to review her test for a few minutes and then - because this test will be given to every other junior in high school for the next 30 years - she returns the test to the teacher.She is not allowed to bring her test home or share it with her tutor or go over the test and re-try the problem or learn what she did right or wrong on the test.She will have a final exam that will ask her to repeat this type of problem again, but she won’t really know what she needs to study for on that final exam.She can’t even photograph or write down the problems she missed- because next year, a class of students needs to take this same test.
This is complete garbage education.It’s garbage education because it has nothing to do with learning.It is not vaguely connected to helping a young person become a mathematician or to develop as a mathematical thinker. This isn’t intellectually challenging and it isn’t helpful to my child in any way.It’s a waste of time.I really want to believe in public education (and private education too), but this is discouraging.And it is the smallest example of what happens every single day on an exponential basis. Admissions Officers,How can you even stand to admit students who have experienced this bologna education without standing up to schools and saying, “We refuse to take your kids unless they have a learning experience.We actually don’t care about test scores (because, let’s face it, tests are irrelevant and nobody after 25 ever takes one except for graduate school tests and that is an entirely bigger problem).” How can you even stand to look at the kids who come through every day to your admissions sessions and speak honestly to them. You make judgments every day about what seems like really, really bad teaching and learning because it is easy for you to look at a standardized test score and a set of grades that is literally landfill - at best. And everyday you just accept it for what it is.
I know kids who have gotten into the best universities and colleges on this garbage. They have jumped through the hoops. Memorized the algorithms. They have crushed the content. They have 5s on the AP exams and near perfect SAT scores. They are machines.
I’m not sure you have any idea what these young people are dealing with, but I do believe you - along with parents like me who see through this - can be more discerning and put the pressure on schools to teach humans and not bullshit.