Tough Choices/Knowledge and Learning
Knowledge and Learning
The report emphasizes that a hunger for education currently exists in India and China. It juxtaposes the educational systems in these two countries with the American system by emphasizing that the latter instills low expectations and is not well structured to produce motivated students and high academic achievement. What should be made of this position? How much of American attitudes toward learning have to do with the American educational system and how much have to do with American culture in general?
To help facilitate discussion, the following excerpt provides a general point of reference :
Consider our students. First, the United States, almost unique among the advanced industrial nations, has managed to construct a system that could not be better designed to deprive the vast majority of our students of a reason to take tough courses or to study hard. We described how the Indian system works to produce an enormous hunger for education and achievement among Indian students. It is hardly clear that it is the quality of instruction that has produced very high mathematical literacy among so many young Indians. It is very clear that a very high level of student motivation has played a crucial role in their achievement. Many of the advanced industrial countries have education system designs that produce much the same result. But in our system, the message has gone out to all except the students aiming at selective colleges (a very small proportion of all students) that all they need to do is achieve an 8th- or 9th-grade-level of literacy to go to college in their state. And in many states, even that minimum has been waived.
Click here to comment
Commentary and Critique
An Indian Perspective
The model proposed later in the report is identical to the existing formal model of education in India. If one of the main reasons to propose the model is the perceived 'hunger for education and achievement' in India then it is bound to fail.
Notes and References