Wednesday, March 08, 2006

It's the student, after all. Or, more precisely, the student's family. Carol pointed out this article from USA Today on student culpability in the falling performance of the American middle class student. Dalrymple makes a similar point in Life at the Bottom, where he notes the marked difference in the success of Indian students in the "underclass" section of London, where he served as a physician, from that of the children from "native" London families (if we can describe the shifting aggregations among those "native" people he describes as "families".) Dalrymple observes that the Indian children, raised in coherant families where the parents worked hard and were loyal to each other, were quite often able to study and work their way out of those neighborhoods, although some would be caught by the corrosive values of the larger culture that was doing great damage to the other young people Dalrymple saw. Dalrymple also observes that the testing standards that the government schools in England uses are very watered down versions of what went before, designed to make the English students, and therefore the educational bureaucrats, look more successful than they really are. At least in the US, we have a movement afoot, however awkward and annoying, to test government school students using national standards that are more than simply enabling window-dressing. (At least I hope they are. What do you think, Mary?)

No comments: