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Another educational fad invades an American school district: Part 5 of 5

23 Aug

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I wrote back to my friend and said what was happening in his/her school district was nothing new. During my thirty years as a classroom teacher—especially after standardized testing became one of the gods of  public education in the United States—what I call magic-pill programs like this Synced Solution thing came along and always promised to revolutionize education boosting the school’s standardized test scores.

And from my thirty years of experience, I can tell you that all of the magic pill programs teachers were often forced to use failed miserably—so bad that they often caused test scores to drop instead of increase—and a few years later these costly programs would be replaced by another magic-pill program.

I worked with some excellent principals and vice principals, but I do not have much praise for administrators who worked out of the district office.

In October 2000, The Los Angeles Times ran a piece about Education’s Failed Fads. The lead paragraph says, “Misguided and bumbled attempts to fix schools are nothing new, as education historian Diane Ravitch relates in painful detail in her new book, “Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms” (Simon & Schuster, $30). I recommend that you click on the LA Times link and read about all the failed education fads to see what I’m talking about.

It is obvious to me that Synced Solution is another fad that will fail mainly because a majority of the teachers were not allowed to be part of the final decision.

For example, there was the Whole Language Approach to teaching reading in the 1980s and 1990s—that supported the idea that children can and should learn to read text in the same easy, natural way that they learn to understand speech. But in Finland “reading instruction is intense in grades 1 and 2, and is uniformly based on teaching phonemic analysis and phoneme-grapheme conversions. Source: THE GLOBALIZATION OF EDUCATIONAL FADS AND FALLACIES

It was my experience that teacher generated programs worked best the same as many of the programs I developed for the almost six-thousand students that I taught over a thirty-year period. This is what teachers in Finland do and Finland has one of the best school systems in the world.

Finland’s public schools—that include a powerful teachers union—are among the best in the world. In the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment — test scores:

Reading: Finland was in 3rd place vs. the United States at 17th

Mathematics: Finland was in 6th place vs. the United States at 31st

Science: Finland was in 2nd place vs. the United States at 23rd

Synced Solutions is nothing more than another popular, politically correct fad supported by another elected school board to be implemented by administrators with no job protection in a do-as-your-told-or-else educational environment adding another nail in America’s mediocre public-education system.

Return to Another educational fad invades an American school district: Part 4 or start with Part 1

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_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

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