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Public education not 'realistic, consistent'

Public education not 'realistic, consistent'

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The education editorial in today's paper had a great deal to say.

First, the public does not like the outcomes of the educational establishment even when this much-maligned establishment continues to deliver exactly what the public has asked for. The public asked for test results; schools are delivering acceptable test results. Now the public finds that students are deficient in basic skills and blame the schools in part for the deficiency.

It appears that the schools are not asked to deliver basic skills and their applications as a top priority. Priorities seem to be test results, college prep, advanced study and gifted education. Something had to be deleted to accommodate these additions. Has teaching basic skills been minimized to accommodate other subjects? Whatever happened to the notion that public schools were established primarily to provide a basic education so that citizens could function intelligently?

Second, has all the much-touted technology really added anything meaningful to the educational process? The comment about technology "dumbing-down" people is truly profound. When I was teaching at Illinois State University, I found students who thought that hand-held calculators solved problems; students who might be able to tell what three times seven was but couldn't tell what seven times three was; and students who admitted that they could not understand the operations manual that came with their expensive calculators.

Third, hasn't the time come to clearly define the purpose of public education in today's world? We continue to cheat our young people by not being realistic or consistent about what they are taught in the public schools as compared to what is expected of them when they leave school.

Too many cooks have spoiled this soup. Somewhere we need someone to bring order to this chaos.

T.C. Ichniowski



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