Saturday, January 2, 2010

Education as an investment

Kohn, Alfie. "Against 'Competitiveness': Why Good Teachers Aren't Thinking About the Global Economy", Education Week, September 19, 2007.

This article questions whether the "...economy is a function of how good ours schools are at preparing tomorrow's workers." (1) Kohn asks if the main function of schooling is to prepare students to be good workers and thus "...increase the profitability of their future employers?" (2) In addition, he discusses how many view the rankings of the US in education as a very important competition but that this does not really define how the students are doing. In his opinion, these tests do not measure the right things. What is most important is that all of the children learn.

This article really made me think about how education, as Kohn puts it, is an "investment". Do schools become scapegoats for problems in our society so that a finger can be pointed. If so, what can we do to change this? How can we make sure that students are being tested on their own knowledge and it is not a competition? Or is competition good? Though this article raised a lot of questions for me however I feel it was an opinion piece with little data to back it up.

-"Like so many others, he was confusing higher scores with better learning."

-"Almost any policy, it seems, no matter how harmful, can be rationalized in the name of 'competitiveness' by politicians and corporate executives, or by journalists whose imaginations are flatter than the world about which they write."

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