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How do you get the pigs to move? Move the feed trough.

The analog question is How do you get the education fiefdom to move? Move the government money so that they have to move away from their erroneous beliefs to continue getting paid. First, we need to realize that the national and state departments of education are card-carrying fiefdom members. They have been brainwashed to believe incorrect dogma as all the other educators and hence are blind to the real problems and their solutions. Any efforts to improve (reform) our failed education system must acknowledge that fact. Unless the continuing supply of money is threatened, beneficial reforms will simply not be carried out effectively. That is, if the fox is guarding the hen house the chickens are going to continue being eaten. In the story The Three Little Pigs, the moral is that if you build a shoddy house you have no protection against the wolf. In education if you build your whole endeavor on a false foundation too many kids will not learn what they need to learn to compete in the global meritocracy. Some kids will learn no matter the system because their support system outside of school enables them to overcome the negative effect of the schools. Those who are not as fortunate need competent schools to teach them and they exist now only as exceptions. The Fallacies Curriculathe current approach was fostered by John Dewey and other Progressives. It goes by many names; child-centered, process, content free, discovery, constructivist, and how-to chief among them. The problem is that this content-free approach does not allow our children to gain the factual knowledge required to understand what the process approach tells them. One more important aspect of the current approach is that any knowledge learned takes a lot longer than with the more traditional, proven content-rich, direct instruction methods we used before the Progressives drove us into a ditch. It is also the method used by our best global competitors whose kids learn so much more than ours. E.D. Hirsch, in his book The Making of Americans, relates why content knowledge is critical. To understand a piece of writing (including that on the Internet and in jobretraining manuals), you already have to know something about its subject matter. . . My research had led me to understand that reading and writing require unspoken background knowledge, silently assumed. I realized that if we want students to read and write well, we cannot take a laissez-faire attitude to the content of early schooling. In order to make competent readers and writers who possess the knowledge needed for communication, we would have to specify much of that content. Moreover, because much of the assumed knowledge required for reading and writing tends to be long lasting and intergenerational, much of that content would have to be traditional. According to ACT, the biggest college readiness problem in reading is, precisely, inability to comprehend complex texts. The point is that reading comprehension

doesnt improve simply by practicing the skill again and again. Readers need to build domain knowledge in order to handle texts at the higher levels. The current how-to skills approach that is used in the vast majority of our schools does not provide the knowledge level required for anything approaching complexity. The situation for math is much the same. Instead of building the required foundational knowledge the emphasis is on discovery methods and calculators. This does not prepare children for algebra and higher math studies they are exposed to in middle and high school work. By the time that realization comes, too many students are so far behind that they give up on math and turn off. Teacher Subject Knowledgea huge problem in elementary school is that the teachers generally do not have nearly enough subject knowledge to teach the content required during what should be foundation building for future success in middle school, high school and post secondary education endeavors. Liping Mas study of elementary math teachers in America and China (Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics) showed a huge gulf in the math knowledge of the two groups. The comparison was not favorable for American teachers who all had much more college level education than their Chinese counterparts. It is the quality of the post secondary training that counts not the quantity. Our education schools emphasize quantity. The Chinese emphasize quality. Elementary teachers are brainwashed in the how-to skills approach for reading as well. They have not really studied in their education school training the structure of our language, its rules and usage with any rigor. Thus, they do not provide their students with basic knowledge which would be foundational to ever increasing reading (and writing) ability. The Education Schoolsfor the most part these are all the little puffer bellies all in a row in their approach. And sadly it is the wrong approach of content-free methods at the expense of rigorous subject knowledge. There are a few exceptions (U of Virginia, Hillsdale College, etc) that are requiring subject knowledge rigor but the vast majority of new teachers whose certification is mostly based on their ed school training are not prepared to do the job that needs to be done. As long as the ed school degree is tantamount to certification there is no incentive for these diploma mills squeezing government money from the system and tuition from the students to clean up their acts.

To conclude, if we really care about improving the schools our kids attend, we need to get busy forcing the required changes on the educators. I say force because the educators have proven over the last many decades that they are incapable of leading the required change themselves. They arent expert in education even though they believe they are. Their results are the incontrovertible truth. The education leadership is go along, get along at best based on their worthless education school leadership degrees especially the doctorates which Arthur Levine in

his Educating School Leaders said were of no value (worthless) in any public school administration job. Thus, they dont know what to do, dont want to change because they know they are overpaid and underworked now, and they dont have the insider leadership moxie to change even if they wanted to. That is why they will have to be forced to change. That means that we will have to move the pig trough to a place that is better for our kids. The pigs will have to move to the new trough or starve. They will move. Not quietly but they will move. Each of the points above; content rich curricula, teachers who know the subjects to be certified, education schools who require subject knowledge rigor or risk being decertified, and education leaders who are paid for results not their position are all required. We need to stop going off on tangents with other improvement initiatives until these problems are addressed. This is where the leverage is. Until the foundation is repaired all of the other cosmetic changes that cost so much money and time are a waste of valuable resources and our kids futures.