Getting Schooled

A sober and somewhat depressing essay about the states of education and teaching within the United States.

Here are just a few of the longstanding problems plaguing American education: a generalized decline in literacy; the faltering international performance of American students; an inability to recruit enough qualified college graduates into the teaching profession; a lack of trained and able substitutes to fill teacher shortages; unequal access to educational resources; inadequate funding for schools; stagnant compensation for teachers; heavier workloads; declining prestige; and deteriorating faculty morale.

There’s a Reason There Aren’t Enough Teachers in America. Many Reasons, Actually. Thomas B. Edsall NYT 12/14/22

I‘m hardly surprised to read about the many failures of the American education system. We need to prioritize education as much as we prioritize health care and defense spending. I had not factored the effects of the “culture wars” but I can imagine the toll it has created among many teachers. The job is hard enough now without adding politics and wacky prohibitions about what is taught and what books pass a purity test.

Education and teaching was much better when I attended school between 1958 to 1974. Teachers were generally respected. There were very few incidents of parental interventions. There was bullying but not to the degree seen today. There were no worries of a crazed gunman running into a class and shooting students. There was interest in pursuing teaching as a career. How that has diminished since I attended school!

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the number of students graduating from college with bachelor’s degrees in education fell from 176,307 in 1970-71 to 104,008 in 2010-11 to 85,058 in 2019-20.

Edsall NYT 12/14/22

The failure to provide or receive a good education is a bane for the rest of one’s life. We know what the problems are. How to fix all the holes in our education system is another matter.

16 Things to Do to Be as Smart as Me

  1. Listen to the Pivot podcast with Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway for commentary on business, culture, tech and politics.
  2. Read Maureen Dowd (New York Times)
  3. Watch a Chris Wallace interview. (The only thing worth watching on Fox News)
  4. View a White House press briefing by Jen Psaki.
  5. Read tweets from John Pavlovitz.
  6. Watch “New Rules” by Bill Maher (Politically Incorrect HBO)
  7. View Doonesbury cartoon on Sunday morning.
  8. View tech interviews by Emily Chang.
  9. Read posts on business, marketing, tech and entrepreneurship from Seth Godin daily (seths.blog)
  10. Listen to commentary from Fareed Zakaria.(CNN on Sundays)
  11. Watch PTI for sports commentary. (ESPN)
  12. Listen to Paul Finebaum for best insights into college football.
  13. Listen to first 15 minutes of Colin Cowherd show for his sports commentary on professional sports. (FS1)
  14. Listen to economic and business insights of Andrew Ross Sorkin (CNBC)
  15. Watch past Christopher Hitchens debates, conversations and discussions about politics, religion, history and culture found on YouTube.
  16. View online Yale course “Financial Markets” by Professor Robert Shiller found on Yale Courses on YouTube.