Monday, February 13, 2006

Stupid in America

This is a 20-20 episode with John Stostle (the other mustache). There are no wars, no talks about evolution or religion, and no celebrities getting naked, so there probably won't be much talk about it.

What it addresses is what we're convinced is the deterioration of the American education system. It's a system that has changed little since it was created, when most Americans were still living on farms.

Here are some highlights:
  • Giving a test in New Jersey and Belgium: in a charter school in Belgium, the kids score, I believe, 30 points higher than the American students in New Jersey.
    • Notice that, in a country where French, Walloon, and Flemish is spoken, the Belgian students are smacking us down in English.
  • The Money Question: We've doubled the amount of money for education (adjusted for inflation) in the last 30 years, but the grades have fallen.
    • A principal in a school that spends thousands less per student says the money complaint is the "biggest lie in America"
  • South Carolina
    • 18 year-old in SC can't read.
    • Sanford trying to create a voucher system
  • Teacher's Unions.
    • can't fire teachers (even when crude, sexual emails have been sent to female students)
    • 2/80,000 teachers have been fired as incompetent
    • Rubber Room - $20 million spent per year just to keep dangerous teachers away from children. These teachers are paid to go into these "rubber rooms" and do nothing all day.
The most common answer given as a remedy: choice. People say that vouchers are the answer. Take a look. Think about it.

Outside sources:

Literacy of College Graduates is on Decline

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