Tuesday, May 16, 2006

How to really improve education - improve textbooks!

This article tells how The System can improve American education.

Improve the textbooks.

The students come in as random unknown units. You don't know who you will get, but you have to educate them. The teachers are under some control. That's what teacher certification and evaluation is all about. Then you test the students at the end of each year or so to see what they have learned. That's what No Child Left Behind is all about. So what's missing?

The textbooks.

Here in Texas textbooks go through a highly politicised process to determine which textbooks the state will provide to schools. The process is one of having publishers get experts to write the texbooks, then getting teachers and experts look at textbooks. After that, there is a public comment period on the books.

It is this latter period that results in the most corrections, both for errors in the texts and for religious problems such as too much focus on Evolution and discussion of the Big Bang Theory. (See Mel and Norma Gabler in Texas.)

Notice that nothing here includes evaluating what the students learned based on the various textbooks the students learned. Yet in mathematics and science, the key to what students learn is the content and ease of use of the textbooks. It would be extremely useful to give the various text books to groups of students and then give them the results-oriented test to see what they have learned.

The most effective textbooks are the ones which should be adopted. Not the textbook that is the most religiously correct, but the one which best teaches the students the material on which they will be tested.

Of course, this will force the politicians to deal with the so-called Christians as they redirect their efforts towards the content of the tests. But that is merely the next stage in the education of society. Religions which cannot deal with contradiction without political control over the facts presented to children have real problems that the rest of us need not deal with.

No comments: