Strong American Schools
You may have seen the ads on T.V. lately for ‘Strong American Schools’. I got curious about them and decided to see what the whole thing is about.
Below is one of their ads in case you haven’t seen it – “One Nation Left Behind”:
- 70% of eighth graders are not proficient in reading—and most will never catch up.
– Every year, more than 1.2 million students drop out of high school.
– Compared to students in 30 industrialized countries, American 15 year olds ranked 25th in math and 21st in science. Even America’s top math students rank 25th out of 30 when compared with top students across the globe.
If you go to www.strongamericanschools.org – the url they use in the ad, it redirects you to a page on the greatschools.net site. The site EDin08 also shows up in searches and is apparently somehow related. Wikipedia says:
“Strong American Schools, a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, is a nonprofit organization supported by The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that seeks to promote sound education policies for all Americans. Through its “ED in 08″ information and nonpartisan advocacy campaign, it seeks to inspire a debate about America’s schools and to make education a top priority in the 2008 presidential election. “
At any rate the site has a page where you can research and compare schools across the country. They also have a community where you can sign up and have an account and ask questions, etc. A bunch of articles to read – there’s a lot and they look like they are pretty good and useful – about all sorts of topics related to schools and kids. The site provides quite a few other resources and tools also.
Obviously the state of American schools is a big problem, and their ads are rather effective I thought – got my attention anyway! The stated goal of the campaign is:
to achieve nationwide debate on education reform during which every presidential candidate addresses three priorities for improving education:
– Agreeing on American education standards
– Providing effective teachers in every classroom
– Giving students more time and support for learning
Hopefully they will be able to meet those goals. And of course we need a president that is really committed to improving our educational system, but it will take much more than that. And much more than better schools.
Parents and, our society in general, really need to take education more seriously.
Parents who care are already involved and will stay that way. But how do you reach those who don’t care? Their kids will still struggle.
And how do you change a whole society? Being good at sports can’t be ‘cooler’ than getting good grades. TV needs to be replaced with books. Curiosity and critical thinking skills need to be cultivated in our youth (and our adults!) instead of blind adherence to authority and superstition.
How do you do that when most people are too busy and overwhelmed to even think about picking up a book? When the example many kids see is parents who would rather go out and drink or sit and watch TV rather than interact with their kids? When our popular media is filled with reality shows and the latest gossip on celebrities rather than documentaries and articles about science, etc.?
Until there is some real change in the way our whole society functions – our kids aren’t going to be doing much better than they are now. Kids with parents who are responsible – will do well. But a large percent of our population will still struggle.
Am I being too pessimistic? What do you think? Do you think this campaign will make any difference? What do you think should be done?
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on September 19th, 2008 at 9:01 pm
The state of American schools, particularly public schools in lower economic areas greatly troubles me. I was fortunate to have access to an excellent education but I think many Americans do not realize the vast discrepancy between urban and suburban schools. The public view is that the parents simply do not care but there are good and bad parents at every economic level. I have witnessed schools in poor areas where hopelessness was so palpable you could stain the walls with it. Kids drop out of school because what is the point when you are not equipped to be employed and you cannot afford (and you have not been properly prepared for) college. The buildings are falling apart and they may go the entire year without textbooks for every student. Families must send their children to school with their own hand sanitizer and toilet paper because the school cannot afford to purchase bathroom items. No Child Left Behind has only widened the gap as economically disadvantaged children are left further behind.
Karen Swims last blog post: I’m Still Standing! I’m Still Strong! from her/his blog at http://wordsforhirellc.com/blog
on September 24th, 2008 at 11:29 am
This is a condition that has been brewing for a long, long time. And everything that was mentioned in this thread has contributed to this out of control problem … Plus the fact that most households have 2 parents working and children in some cases are raising themselves.
Also the internet and net-socializing are absorbing huge amounts of our children’s free time and instead of maybe grabbing a novel or a classic…they rush home and run straight to the computer. And with the overwhelming effect the cell phone has had on society, everyone walks the streets glued to this phone which they are either talking on or text-ing their friends.
And in some cases the kids that are passing and scoring high on reports and such…well, you can commission someone to do the research via the net and all you have to do is tweak your report and pass it in.
There has always been distractions and unfavorable components that has added to this situation and the distraction are growing by leaps and bounds.
I think one answer lies with us as parents, we have to start saying ‘NO’, and start stepping up to the parental plate and focus more on what really does matter and what’s really needed in our childrens lives…
Sadies last blog post: -Precious Moments In Time from her/his blog at musingsmeanderingsandmore.info