Friday, 15 June 2007

It's not just in America that children are being dumbed down

As Australian education levels plummet to a level far below what is needed to drive growth in a functioning information economy, education unions and advocates bleat for more money, more money, more money to solve the problem. In spite of huge increases in public spending per child over the last 30 years test scores on the basics are at record lows.

From the current issue of Quadrant magazine comes a piece describing the effects of this dumbing down. Mike Alder is from the Mathematics and Statistics department at the University of Western Australia. He reports on a 16 question maths test given to first-year science students - e.g. 2*(5-2*(7-8)) and 4/(4 + 1/5) - and says that the average mark has gone from 14/16 back in 2000 to 4/16 (with the most common mark being 2/16) in 2007. He calls educational experts "charlatans" and says that "[w]e have given our education system over to fools". [h/t - Janice]

Unfortunately, these fools are too foolish to understand their foolishness. There are heaps of these people in society and, as an aside, this great article outlines why.

I was recently sent a link to John Stossel's "Stupid In America". The parallels to what's going on in Australia and the UK are stark. When Belgian students can wipe the floor, academically, with their US counterparts due to the fact that they have school vouchers it's impossible to argue against their introduction.

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