Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Students Set Own Agenda at School and U.S. Teens Lags as China Soars on Education

The problem with the education system in America stems from finding the right gimmick, instead of teaching our kids. It is a no-brainer. The reason America continues to fall behind other countries in education is because teachers don't know how to teach and parents opting to put their kids on Ritalin and mood enhancement drugs.

(Sun Sentinel) As public schools adopt tougher standards and emphasize standardized tests, alternative schools have become more popular.

"The regular public school system and even some private schools tend to operate under the paradigm that kids are lazy and need to be forced to learn,'' said Jerry Mintz, director of the New York-based Alternative Education Resource Organization. "We take a diametrically different approach that starts with the assumption that kids are natural learners.''

Mintz said in the past two decades, the number of home-schoolers nationwide has grown from about 20,000 to about 2 million. He said there are about 12,000 alternative schools, including charter and public alternatives and Montessoris.

Of those, about 200 are "democratic schools," in which students play a big role in decision-making, he said.

There has been a lot of debate, however, about the concept. While some experts say it is needed to keep children motivated and feed their innate curiosity, others have argued that kids who lack motivation can flounder.


(Bloomberg) Fifteen-year-olds in the U.S. ranked 25th among peers from 34 countries on a math test and scored in the middle in science and reading, while China’s Shanghai topped the charts, raising concern that the U.S. isn’t prepared to succeed in the global economy.

The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development, which represents 34 countries, today released the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment. For the first time, the test broke out the performance of China’s Shanghai region, which topped every country in all academic categories. The U.S. government considers the test one of the most comprehensive measures of international achievement.