Outcome Based Education
Anyone who has read this series of columns for any length of time at all will know that I despair at the condition of the American education system today.
There are small science news blurbs in the margins of the magazine Scientific American. In the May 1998, edition I found this item:
"Fs for U. S. Schools - Results from the latest and most comprehensive comparison of education in 23 nations showed that American high school seniors fall further behind their foreign counterparts than anyone thought. In tests of general mathematics, students from only two nations - Cyprus and South Africa - fared worse than U. S. 12th graders. And no country performed more poorly in tests of advanced mathematics and physics. Only those American students taking advanced placement calculus ranked higher than the average in that field."
This is what Outcome Based Education (OBE), Project 2000, Ebonics, Multi-Culturalism; teaching a little about a lot, rather than a lot about less; and other liberal education programs have brought us to. It has brought us to our knees. We can no longer compete in the world market because our "leaders" think that egalitarianism should be applied to education. (Egalitarian may be defined as equalitarian.)
Egalitarianism in our public schools means that we may no longer require our students to pass hard exams before being passed on to higher grades. We are no longer to require a specific level of knowledge to be acquired before graduation, but rather a certificate of attendance is now being awarded. It is now more important that our children feel good about themselves because of who they are, rather than because of how much they know.
With thanks and credit given to Christian News from CFT, good friends in South Africa, I would like to share with you their comments and observations of the attempts to implement OBE in the South African public schools. Please remember that the government in South Africa has been led by a communist since Mr. Mandela was elected to office.
Some of these items will, I hope, shock you into action concerning the efforts to apply the same methodology here in the U. S.:
"The new Outcomes Based Education system has the potential to produce utter chaos in the classroom. Many . . . educators have reported on an OBE crash course they've attended. Some excerpts from the course are:
* Learners should NEVER stand in single file as it is too humiliating and militaristic. Children are citizens of South Africa just as much as their teachers are - so, they should be allowed to move around as they want.
* Children must be allowed to copy from each other - it is part of democracy. If a learner has an answer it must be shared with all the others.
* The more advanced learner must wait for others to catch up and should be teaching the others.
* Noise should be the norm at school. If there is silence then it shows that no learning is going on.
* It is discriminatory to classify learners as fast, middle or slow readers.
* There should be no tests or exams as this is "unjust". It is unjust for some to know answers whilst others don't.
* There should be no drill work in math or the alphabet. Learners must discover knowledge.
* The educator must never be prescriptive but should develop the self-image of learners.
* Educators should never make comments like "good" or "bad" - they should only comment on the work of the learners.
The four day course initiated teachers into the new OBE system. They were then sent back to introduce this egalitarian paradigm shift into their schools.
OBE has produced disastrous results in previously good schools. New Zealand, the model upon which South Africa's Curriculum 2005 is based, has recently dropped OBE. Dr. Bill Spady ("father" of OBE) during his November visit, expressed doubts about the possibility of OBE success in South Africa. Why is the Education Department still insistent on bringing chaos into the classroom?"
Why indeed? Why are supposed educators in this country promoting this obvious failure? Why must we pull our best students down to the level of less achievement?
As a teacher I keep two things very much in mind. First, you can not help someone by teaching down at their level. You must encourage and challenge them to come up. Only Gnostics (Those who say - "I know, but you don't; and if you want to know, you will have to come to me.") hold power by retention of knowledge.
Second, those who love teaching, help others love learning.