Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Rant about Sorting in Schools

This article in today’s Washington Post both frustrated and intrigued me today:

For Same Course, Students Can Succeed on Many Levels

Md. History Class Offered in Tiers of Varying Difficulty


The article takes a look at a single high school and how it teaches a single course – World History - on 4 different levels (“On-Level, Honors, International Baccalaureate, and Advanced Placement.)

If it wasn’t so tragic it would be quite funny, the differences in class discussion between the four classes of World History. After reading this, it’s like, why would anyone NOT want to get their kid into the IB program? I mean, I know that not everyone at 15 or 16 wants to sit around discussing the motivations around 19th century German Unification, but I think that at least everyone should get the tools to be able to do so. The On-Level and Honors classes seem just ghastly. Why would anyone be interested in history if you had to sit through crappy classes like that?

My husband and I were talking about this in the car on the way to work today. He reminded me that my opinion is colored by the fact that we both had parents who placed a huge premium on getting a good education and that there are some who don’t, and those who don’t, won’t be very worried about what their kids are learning on what level, just so long as they pass and graduate.

But you know what? When kids are very little, they just soak up information, they are constantly asking why? And What is that? And Where did that come from? They are willing to try everything. Somewhere along the line, somehow, all that wonderful inquisitiveness and creativity gets, for lack of a better word, beaten out of us. I know that not everyone wants to go to college or even needs to, if they have other talents that will serve them equally well (I’m all for a revamped vocational system . . . I personally wish I’d been able to take drafting or something else hands on useful), but I think all of us need some sort of baseline rigor to become a thinking, fully contributing member of society. I know in some ways that makes me sound horribly conservative, but in a way it is also pretty liberal, to give everyone the same opportunity to learn and succeed.

Thus ends my muddled thought for the morning. It probably makes no sense, but it would take me a week to actually write something intelligible, which would defeat the purpose of the blog. There is a complete thought in there somewhere, I swear! I have to run and actually do some work now, but education is one of my many passions, so I may rant about these odd things from time to time.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Read the article you referenced (what else but the Washington Post for a Northern Virginia gal, no?). You know what is scary about that story (aside from the fact that is was poorly written), is we can see the social stratification occuring at that stage in life. The IB kids are the kids who are going to go onto Ivy League-esque schools, get MBA's, run corporations and be the big power players in America. The kids in the on-levels course, sadly it seems are destined for low wage careers, working hard to stay afloat, getting lucky to make enough for one family vacation a year. I know this is a grand generalization, but it does seem a bit evident reading that story that these kids lives are going to go in totally different paths. It fuels the arguement of the diminishing middle class in America. Interesting....
- Virginia Gal