It is fairly well known that for the past the passing of NCLB (No Child Left Behind) has required teachers to focus on five basic areas of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. While these areas are critically important, they have not prepared our students for the world of today. Teachers have been saying for years that our students have forgotten how to think. More often than not, when a student is asked “why” or “how”, the response is a shoulder shrug or “I don’t know.” It takes work to “think” and most of our students no longer have the work ethic necessary to do this harder type of work. In all fairness, this is probably not all their doing, since thinking skills have not been the focus in schools since the implementation of NCLB.
Now with the implementation of the CCSS, students are required to think and they are unprepared for the task. Low level jobs constitute only 10% of the total economy today but 95% twenty five years ago. Today’s job required in-depth thinking, critical analysis, the ability to analyze multiple accounts of the same event, synthesize information from multiple source and make determinations and decisions based on this analysis. “Google it” has become a household work for children as young as three years old. My granddaughter, at age three, told her mother that daddy could just download it from the Internet! Without these higher level skills, our children will be left behind. The most recent scores from PISA (Program for International Student Assessmen, 2010) place America in 14th place.
The following is a quote from the report “Global Grade: How Do US Students Compare (Great Schools.org)
The United States may be a superpower but in education we lag behind. In a recent comparison of academic performance in 57 countries, students in Finland came out on top overall. Finnish 15-year-olds did the best in science and came in second in math. Other top-performing countries were: Hong Kong, Canada, Taiwan, Estonia, Japan and Korea.
Students in the United States performed near the middle of the pack. On average 16 other industrialized countries scored above the United States in science, and 23 scored above us in math.
Researchers also made note of the fact that while the United States has one of the biggest gaps between high- and low-performing students in an industrialized nation, Finland has one of the smallest. Students in Finland perform remarkably well, regardless of the school they attend.
Read the entire article at: http://www.greatschools.org/students/academic-skills/1075-u-s-students-compare.gs