Sunday, September 20, 2009

CNN Video Clips Discusses Low Student Scores on Citizenship Test

Check out this video clip from CNN which discusses the results of a survey given to Oklahoma high school students. The questions are from the citizenship test. The results are surprising and the "expert" interviewed by CNN blames teachers and public education. He states twice that our students are getting "smoked by Iceland and other industrialized countries around the world in test scores".

Just a couple personal observations here from me :

Once again, as is the case in many of these "sound bite" stories, there is no discussion about a solution. Please don't just gripe, offer a solution.

The survey was a phone survey that these students were not aware they would be taking. A little different than an actual school situation or taking a citizenship test.

Once again education is bashed because it takes makes up a large portion of the budget. I would hope that education makes up a large percentage of any local or state government - don't you?

What do you think after watching this clip? Please leave a comment on this blog post.


  1. Seems like it's our fault again.

    My theory is this:

    It really does take a whole community to educate a child - parents, teachers, neighbors, extended family, coaches/scoutmasters, church members, etc... Teachers and schools are just one element in a larger framework.

    For a variety of reasons, most of those pieces are missing from many children's lives. Many kids are from single parent homes. Most parents are so overworked that they don't have as much face-time with the kids as they should. Most extended families are separated by distance. Neighbors/community members won't get involved with someone else's child for fear of confrontation or lawsuits. Very few children, especially boys, have any role-models who are passionate about education.

    That leaves the schools. As the last ones at the party, we take the blame for all the shortcomings of the entire system. I'm sure there are bad teachers out there; I just haven't met many of them.

    This sort of thing used to get me pretty worked up. Now, I'm too busy in my classroom to invest much emotional energy into talking heads looking for easy answers.

    - John in NH

  2. I feel your pain. I'm a scientist (not in academia), and virtually the same criticisms are leveled at pre-college science teachers. Unfortunately, I have no easy answers, although I do have an observation ... which generally supports the view of John in NH.

    For many years I was General Chairman for a regional science fair. Pretty much across the board, the best projects came from students who were mentored by enthusiastic teachers. (As a general rule, the home-schooled students took a vastly disproportionate share of the top awards.) Thus, the even more glaring common denominator for the best projects was PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT. I have no doubt that the same is true in history, music, or any subject.

    Of course, no one really wants to hear that.