Saturday, April 28, 2007

We Need to Address Cheating

I have said that morality is the root of education. Cheating is widespread in American high schools, including Plano. The solution now is to not let the children take tests home and to give different copies of the exams in class.

When I taught math in high school I had to have 4 versions of a test within a single class. Even kids with high grades cheat to get higher grades. Then they go to college and cheat there. When I taught college I found students cheating there.

How can we bring morality into the schools? Talking about cheating is one way. How can we get more parental involvement? Maybe including parents in a discussion of cheating would be helpful.

Yes, people are flawed and we might never get rid if cheating, but we should not be so complacent about it.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Morality and Education

Chu Hsi wrote that moral priniciple is the root of learning.

Chu Hsi, was a great Chinese scholar. We need to take heed and discuss how we can maintain the teaching of moral principle within public schools.

It is possible to teach morality without teaching religion, but first the community must agree on its importance.


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Will Dropping the TAKS Improve Education?

I was chatting with someone recently. She said if Plano did not have to spend time with practice TAKS tests then instruction would improve.

I told her that since the educational philosophy at Plano ISD is flawed, more flawed instruction would not lead to more education. The fundamental flaw in Plano is that the administrators do not believe in teaching knowledge. You will notice this when you hear an administrator say, "A teacher is a guide on the side, not a sage on the stage."

Yes, I heard a Plano administrator say that.

Our children are getting short changed because the administrators do not believe in knowledge. You have heard me talk about math, now let me mention reading. Instead of emphasizing looking words up in a dictionary and increasing their vocabulary when reading, the Plano ISD emphasizes guessing the meaning of words. Plano teaches guessing strategies from elementary all the way up to high school.

Parents must provide personal tutoring or pay for tutoring if they want to ensure their children get grounded in the knowledge they need to succeed. Many parents in Plano send their children for extra instruction or tutoring, but it should not be necessary. The schools could and should do more.


Thursday, April 5, 2007

The Best of East and West

The New York Times Magazine had an article on Sunday, April 1, 2007, saying China is changing its education system to adopt the best practices from American liberal arts education.

The Winding Spring Process of Education is how we can adopt the best educational ideas from China.

China is working hard to compete against us. We also must adapt to compete.


Monday, April 2, 2007

More on Math (Part 2)

Here is a quote from the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) for 3rd grade: "...the primary focal points at Grade 3 are multiplying and dividing whole numbers...."

Put what does this mean? I believe it means the children should leave 3rd grade knowing their multiplication and division facts. This is not, however, what Plano ISD does. If you want your children to know their math facts, you have to teach them yourself. Has anyone ever told you that?

The Plano ISD is so wrapped up with critical thinking, understanding concepts, and integrated curriculum that they neglect imparting basic facts. Some parents take up the slack themselves. Some send their children for tutoring. But what about those kids in Plano whose parents don't have college degrees or money for tutoring? A gap develops in their math skills that is never overcome.

We need to improve elementary school mathematics for the sake of all the children.