(Professor Plum left this classic comment in another post. It was too goo not to pull up front.)
It's tempting to think that educationists innocently look in the wrong place to explain low achievement and to raise it.
1. “Schools need more money.” [In fact, the U.S. spends more money on schools than anyone else. The problem is that a lot of money is spent on curriculum materials that aren’t very good.]
2.“Disadvantaged children enter school with too little vocabulary.” [True, but there are preschool and kindergarten language and reading programs that can close the gap.]
3. “Students are unmotivated. They don’t want to learn.” [Did you ever see unmotivated kindergartners? It’s more likely that children become unmotivated AFTER they find out they aren’t learning.]
4. “Classes are too large.” [Ineffective instruction is ineffective no matter how small classes are. Besides, countries with high achievement have larger classes.]
The truth is, they are imbeciles.
Ask any educationist----an education perfesser (esp. one of the illiterate "literacy" hacks, or any dummy perfesser of elementary education. Can you imagine a more lame field?), or a district "curriculum specialist," or a member of one of the organizations that "guide" education (such as NCTE or NCTM)----a series of questions that get to the core of education.
You'll be shocked (or maybe not) at how boneheaded, smug, and just plain stupid these persons are.
They can't define knowledge.
"Knowledge is uh uh uh...what you know." [Oh, good.]
They can't give a coherent definition of learning.
"Learning is uh er oh mmm uh what happens when you learn." [Get the ropes.]
They can't list the phases of mastery---acquisition, fluency, generalization, retention.
"Phases of what?
They can't define a concept, rule, or cognitive routine.
"A concept is an idea. A rule is an idea, too, sort of, but uh uh uh er er."
They can't tell you the criteria for logically adequate curriculum design.
"A good curriculum is a seamless web [insane] of holistic experiences experienced in the context of naturalistic and learner-centered activities in a democratic and nurturing community. Howz that?" [Stick your head in the toaster and jump in the bathtub.]
In other words, they don't know anything about their business.
Imagine a physician who could not define cell or tell you how muscles work.
This field does not need more knowledge of how to educate, nor more materials. It needs persons with intelligence. At least common sense, and who don't tolerate any ooompus boompus from wiseass students.
We'd be far better off if we hired late middle aged men and women as teachers, and gave them a crash course in design and effective communication.
And instead of the usual administrators coming out of schools of deaducation, hire retired military.
That's the considered opinion of me and my pal Jose Quervo.