Education reform has changed what and how we teach students in our schools. Students are being taught critical thinking and problem-solving skills. This is good. We want our students to be able to apply what they're learning to real-life situations and find inventive solutions to problems they may encounter in their careers, and in their lives. Buinesses are saying they want to employ people who are able to "think outside the box" and give attention to minute details. From the very beginning days of kindergarten, we are helping our students build these skills. The entire curriculum and the state standardized tests are designed to teach and evaluate based on how well we do this. What we used to teach in 2nd grade, we now teach in kindergarten. What we used to teach in 6th grade, we now teach in 4th. We are pushing our students to be advanced learners. We believe this will help our students to be more globally competetive. With all these new emphases, one must ask, "What is being sacrificed?" With only so many hours in a school day, what skills are our students NOT being taught, given the intensity with which they are being taught these higher-order thinking skills? Indeed, if we investigate, we will see what our students are missing. For example, it is no longer a requirement for students to memorize multiplication facts. They are taught what mulitiplication is, but are handed a calculator to solve problems involving even basic computation. This saves them time when answering word-problems and application questions, but as a result, we are graduating people from high school who cannot tell you from memory what 8x3 equals. A lot of educators are ok with this. We are also not teaching cursive handwriting to any degree. There is little room in the curriculum for teaching such an unnecessary skill. After all, who writes in cursive anymore when we now can write personal and business letters on Microsoft Word and send people texts and tweets? So, again, as a result, many students never learn to legibly sign even their own name. Furthermore, because it's not a tested subject in many states, social studies is hardly given time at all. Oh, teachers teach it, but it is included as an add-on for many of them, and something with which they can dispense if they run out of time, which is fairly often. You can prove this to yourself: Ask a middle school student why we have a holiday on the fourth of July. Or details about the first Thanksgiving. How many stars are on flag? When was the Civil War fought and what were the reason behind it? Chances are you'll hear some amusing answers, but after you've been amused, perhaps you will be horrifed about what our students are NOT being taught. Finally, ask a high school student what Shakespeare plays he's read, or what he's read by Dickens or Steinbeck or Poe, or if he's read any of the classic literature that exists. Disappointment will follow, because contemporary pieces have taken their place in our schools, the logic behind this being that our students will stay more engaged. A new generation is coming of age with such a narrow knowledge base to pass on to their own children. The general publicdoes not realize what our children are NOT being taught. As we lose these things, we are losing parts of our American culture, and we will have adults with less rich lives and poorer awareness of the world in which they live. The good news is, they may still score at the proficient level on standardized tests.
Massive tornadoes hit Oklahoma, killing at least 24 people.How you can help