Education Strategy Gone Amok?

Education Strategy Gone Amok?

Education, we have a problem.

Greenman House
Greenman House

The response to an education crisis is to lower standards and implement social justice programs? History since the inception of the Great Society shows these programs do not work. The current education strategy will continue to lower US competitiveness and overall prosperity. It is crazy.

Unless they are trying to solve issues other than prosperity and global competitiveness.

The US education system is in trouble, if not outright crisis. The US may still have the number one economy in the world, but at least two global ranking systems for grades K-12 rank the US below 25th in the world. Colleges and universities report that many, perhaps most, incoming students are barely qualified and need remedial courses. Likewise, many employers report that new employees rarely have the basic skills required for entry level work.

When we look at primary and secondary education, the situation is perhaps even gloomier. A January 2017 segment on a recent Hechinger Report found that high schools do not prepare many students for even the basic college courses. Many other studies and anecdotes confirm the problem. For example, an April 2016 US News and World Report shows that high schools prepare only 37% of seniors for college. This report is like articles in The Wall Street Journal and Fortune Magazine and other sources. Unfortunately, this story is not new. Reporting on the problem goes back many years. In 2013, the United States placed 36th in the Organizations for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) rankings of mathematics, reading, and science and 25th in 2015. See OECD 2015 PISA Report. Curiously, reporting on these issues seems to be lower in the last few years.

Educators recognize the problem but seem to focus on closing achievement gaps between races and sexes (AACTE, 2010). While there are clearly gaps, they seem to grow wider, rather smaller and the US as a whole is falling farther in global rankings and competitiveness. Current methods do not work.

The review of the education literature, especially revolving around the learning needs for the 21st century, has four common themes: critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration (4C). Much of it also discusses STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) as critical subjects for success in the 21st century job market. Unfortunately, many employers say workers do not receive this education and are often ill-prepared for the modern work environment.

But educators are focused on social justice and closing the gap through holding back those who do well and lower standards. In this scenario, everyone pays a terrible price.

So, what is the deal with the education institution? What is their strategy trying to accomplish? I developed a strategic framework in part 10 of the reconstructing history series. The next blog entry will apply it to see if we can answer the question of strategic ends.


AACTE), A. A. of C. for T. E. (2010). 21St Century Knowledge and. In Education (Issue September).

Anft, M. (2017). Breaking professional schools out of their silos. Chronical of Higher Education, 63(35), A8–A12.

Care, E., Kim, H., Vista, A., & Anderson, K. (2018). Education system alignment for 21st century skills: Focus on assessment. Center for Universal Education at the Brookings Institution., January, 1–40.

Care, E., & Wednesday, A. V. (2017). Education assessment in the 21st century: New skillsets for a new millennium. 21–23.

Care, E., Kim, H., & Tuesday, A. V. (2017). How do we teach 21st century skills in classrooms? 2017–2019.

Care, E., & Lou, R. (2016). Assessment of transversal competencies: Policy and practice in the Asia-Pacific region.

Griffin, P., & Care, E. (Eds.). (2015). Assessment and Teaching of 21st Century Skills. Springer Dordrecht.

P21. (2019). Framework for 21st Century Learning.

Pellegrino, J. W., & Hilton, M. L. (2013). Education for life and work: Developing transferable knowledge and skills in the 21st century. In Education for Life and Work: Developing Transferable Knowledge and Skills in the 21st Century.\

Vista, A., & Monday, E. C. (2017). Education assessment in the 21st century: Pathways to the future.

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4 thoughts on “Education Strategy Gone Amok?”

  1. I think the left’s strategy, all along, has been to destroy our education system, to dumb our country down keeping us in line with the rest of the world. At least, from several excerpts from Obama’s speeches, it appears that his worldview makes this a part of the left’s attitude and intent, right up front with the times back in the 60s, when the shift began, by people who started infecting Columbia University. Their goal was the communism thing, and all the social programs seem to defend their position from back then.

    I’m not fixated on Obama, but he did say he planned to “take us down a few notches” several times, in his speeches. Look how far we have dropped in so short a time, with all this progressive gobbledy-goop from the left. And tons of it came straight from Obama’s Department of Education.
    Keep going. Good article.

    • Mark, I think this pre-dates Obama. It started at least as far back as Hillary Clinton’s It takes a village. I’m not sure Obama was much more than a puppet. Is it Soros? Is it the Trilateral Commission? Is it Corporatism seeking to break the world’s governments and save the world for corporations? Perhaps it is all of them. What I do think is true is the right ceded education to the left because there was not much money in it. We are reaping fruits of that disaster.

      • I agree about Hillary’s village nonsense. It even may have had its origins in the period after WWI, when communism started to make advances.
        I used Obama as a benchmark for the younger crowd who view these things more as a contemporary problem. If you mention that blue dress that appeared in the Clinton times, a lot of folks probably have no idea what we would be talking about.
        I agree about the education system. That was a monumental problem that took time to do its destruction. Fortunately, some still survive all that ideology, instead of being programmed by it. That means there are still individual minds working in the right direction.

        • Thanks Mark. The next installment looks at what the education institution’s strategy might be. It’s not good for the Republic. You are right about the communism angle. We need an alternative to the public schools until we can fix them.

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