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The Dumbing Down of America's Schools

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What is a poor student of the education system supposed to believe?  There WILL be a test!

I don't have the answers either.
I believe in standards, but the "right" ones. 
But let's not be too quick to say those are the 3 R's - Reading, (W)riting, and (A)rithmatic, because at least with the last one, when it morphs into Algebra, there's good evidence that this subject is both unnecessary and that the teaching of it is costing us a many children who would otherwise become productive learners and adults

Our kids are sinking in Algebra
(image by NY TImes)

Says Andrew Hacker, a professor at Queen's college, NY and author of "Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids -- and What We Can Do About It."

This debate matters. Making mathematics mandatory prevents us from discovering and developing young talent. In the interest of maintaining rigor, we're actually depleting our pool of brainpower. I say this as a writer and social scientist whose work relies heavily on the use of numbers. My aim is not to spare students from a difficult subject, but to call attention to the real problems we are causing by misdirecting precious resources.

Yet, we are also told by those who would hire them, that today's graduates are critically short of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) skills. 
Can we really identify such students early on, or do we risk creating a subclass, or sub class, of students who are "divergent?"

And don't think students can retreat to the Arts either.  Today comes this report about the gutting of the Arts programs by NY City's new Comptroller, Scott Stringer:

Scott Stringer, NYC Comptroller
(image by Scott Stringer)

Dear Friend:
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New York City is the cultural capital of the world, but its public schools don't always reflect this artistic richness. More than 400 high school and middle schools have no full-time certified arts teachers, and 10 percent of all schools lack even a dedicated art room.

click here

These were just some of the findings in my office's new report "State of the Arts: A Plan to Boost Arts Education In New York City," a first-of-its-kind, school-by-school analysis that reveals deep inequities in access to arts education, especially for kids from our lower-income neighborhoods.

The situation is especially dire for children in Central Brooklyn and the South Bronx, where more than 42 percent of schools have no certified arts teachers, and nearly half have no dedicated arts rooms.  

Arts education can--and should--play an important role in the lives of our children. It deepens their understanding of the world around them, and gives them the skills they'll need to compete in the 21st century marketplace.

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With new leadership at the Department of Education, our City is well-positioned to expand arts education in our schools.  Putting a certified arts teacher in every City school is a priority that we can and must achieve. 

Where are all the Arts Teachers?
(image by Scott Stringer)

Learn more about my plan to improve arts education for every child and check out our online map to see the state of arts education in your neighborhood school.  

Let's make sure that all our children have access to a rich and robust arts education -- one that is worthy of our great city, and that can help to lead our kids to vibrant careers in the arts and beyond.


Best --

Scott Stringer
(image by Scott Stringer)
Scott Stringer
Comptroller of the City of New York 

It's enough to make one want to reach for the cheat sheets!  You won't be alone, says this report:

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3

Scott Baker is a Managing Editor & The Economics Editor at Opednews, and a blogger for Huffington Post, Daily Kos, and Global Economic Intersection.

His anthology of updated Opednews articles "America is Not Broke" was published by Tayen Lane Publishing (March, 2015) and may be found here:

Scott is President of Common Ground-NYC (, a Geoist/Georgist activist group. He has written dozens (more...)

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If there is one place to answer all  questi... by Susan Lee Schwartz on Tuesday, Apr 8, 2014 at 6:43:48 PM
Thanks for this article, Scott!  This is ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Tuesday, Apr 8, 2014 at 8:28:40 PM
More and more people are home-schooling their chil... by Scott Baker on Tuesday, Apr 8, 2014 at 9:06:25 PM
You are right, and as far as my daughter is conce... by Meryl Ann Butler on Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 at 7:45:21 PM
How interesting!  And it shows just how resil... by Scott Baker on Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 at 10:40:17 PM
Tough reading - this article, Mr. Baker. And I don... by Ad Du on Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 at 12:54:10 AM
If Finns start school one year later, don't you... by Ad Du on Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 at 1:06:23 AM
However, mathematics teachers in universities and... by Ad Du on Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 at 1:23:19 AM
(By the way: the world's best three are listed as ... by Ad Du on Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 at 1:35:19 AM
I will now show you (again!) what High School Phys... by Ad Du on Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 at 1:42:03 AM
Oh, I almost forgot!On that distant planet - where... by Ad Du on Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 at 2:17:49 AM
If kids go home happy and enthused about learning... by Daniel Geery on Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 at 6:38:25 PM
Hi Dan. I more or less agree with your statement ... by Peter Duveen on Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 at 7:01:23 PM
Yes! The only thing we really need to teach is the... by Meryl Ann Butler on Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 at 7:25:13 PM
Enthusiasm is certainly the trigger or catalyst (... by Robert S. Becker on Thursday, Apr 10, 2014 at 1:11:54 PM
I see nothing that I disagree with. In all subjec... by Daniel Geery on Thursday, Apr 10, 2014 at 3:00:14 PM
Amazing that 6th graders had a better sense of re... by Robert S. Becker on Thursday, Apr 10, 2014 at 4:54:02 PM
I could literally picked far better cabinet member... by Daniel Geery on Thursday, Apr 10, 2014 at 7:32:25 PM
Well, it is a low bar now....A few people have sug... by Scott Baker on Thursday, Apr 10, 2014 at 9:32:13 PM
Were it not unprofessional, I could even provide ... by Daniel Geery on Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 11:00:23 AM
Fixing education in America is something like fix... by Peter Duveen on Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 at 6:48:25 PM
Right on, Peter. Across the board. I sub now, volu... by Daniel Geery on Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 at 7:14:24 PM
I'm slowly going through Susan Lee Schwartz's list... by Scott Baker on Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 at 7:32:47 PM
Great  summary, Scott, thanks! ... by Meryl Ann Butler on Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 at 7:50:21 PM
Thanks for this comment.  It distills the mos... by Gregory Kozloff on Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 at 8:34:14 PM
I agree with Meryl Ann. P.S. And can't help but ... by Daniel Geery on Wednesday, Apr 9, 2014 at 11:01:28 PM
I am glad that you are taking the time to review ... by Susan Lee Schwartz on Friday, Apr 11, 2014 at 11:45:49 PM