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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Terminology Trickery

When educrats use the term proficient in relation to academic achievement, it means meets minimum requirements; it does not mean well advanced.  This neologism is a misleading interpretation that directs public attention away from poor academic performance.  Sadly, what is currently deemed proficient was recognized as failure in 1960.  Today, low expectations are the norm.  Nearly one-quarter of high school graduates who take the US Army qualification examination fail it

People who are seeking employment in the Army are not future Rhodes Scholars.  For many, the Army is an employer of last resort that keeps them from working dead-end jobs in fast food chains, retail outlets, or as unskilled laborers.  However, scores on the tests required for graduation fail to reflect such a low level of competence. 

Test scores have stagnated in the last 35 years, and the gaps in performance by demographic category have remained constant and in direct proportion to intelligence levels.  In contrast, academic assessment has changed radically.  Putting imaginary clothes on the educational emperor requires great creativity.  Educational terminology reflects some of that creativity.  One such term is to differentiate.

One might believe that it means to recognize or give expression to a difference.  In academia, it means to segregate by demographic category.  To differentiate instruction means to provide a different learning experience for every individual student in the class.  This means that for Yan or Colin, earning an A grade—this begs the question as to whether grades are still earned—requires much greater effort than for Yashanda, Yolinda, or anyone else whom government classifies as Qualified Women and Minorities (QWAM's).

This academic welfare is the new inclusion, or equal pay for unequal work.  It is because Multicultural, anti-Western, and feminist ideologies take precedence over any substantive or useful ideas about how to teach.  One result is that an ESL student who has difficulty reading Dr. Seuss gets the same grade as someone who writes a concise and coherent explication of Waiting for Godot.

Ersatz education of this sort results from intellectually barren and ethically challenged education professors indoctrinating education students who, in turn, brainwash elementary school children.  It is little wonder that education majors in college score lowest of all disciplines on standardized tests.  Apparently, education colleges recruit people who are easily misled, yearn for approval, and are strongly inclined toward herd instincts.  Teaching to the lowest level of potential achievement requires little intellectual vigor.

What is required is the gullibility needed to embrace educational fads.  The different styles approach is but one example.  It is predicated on the propaganda that no one is any more or less intelligent, productive, or motivated, despite the self-evident falsity of that claim.  Students who will succeed in medical school or earn doctorates in astrophysics are forced into learning groups with lazy semi-literates, and all of the students receive the same grade, regardless of performance or productivity.

It is now unacceptable to simply teach a lesson to a class, and assess the students according to how well [each] demonstrates his knowledge of the content…providing 'differentiated instruction' to each of a teacher's 150 students is simply laughable.  In high schools around the country, teachers only teach 20% of students, the top and bottom ten percent of achievers.  The top ten are more gifted than many of the teachers, so their primary focus is to change D- students into C- students.  Jobs are going to India and China because there are too few qualified Americans to fill them.

May your gods be with you.        

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