Letter to the editor: The latest teaching fads do not improve US education | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: The latest teaching fads do not improve US education

Tim Seeling

Thomas Sowell penned the following gem: “Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good. In area after area … the situation has gotten worse after the bright new theories where put into operation. The amazing thing is that this history of failure and disaster has neither discouraged the social engineers nor discredited them.” Especially in education.

In my lifetime, there have been at least three educational fads that have had, in my opinion, a negative effect on the U.S. education system:

New math: The goal of the new math approach was to skip over the tedious parts of the subject and go to a deeper understanding and appreciation. Apparently, the idea was that if a student first loved math, then he or she could fill in the missing details later.

Whole language: Students were not taught phonics, instead they where supposed to magically grasp how to read by simply being read to — somewhat akin to becoming a violin virtuoso by taking a music appreciation course.

Common Core: One of the common tenets of the Common Core approach is that all students should learn at the same pace. Really?

It would be nice if the education establishment reflected upon its repeated failures and decided to focus on proven teaching strategies, like hard work and sacrifice.

The current effort to twist history to serve a political narrative (The 1619 Project) is appalling. Even worse is critical race theory, which is little more than a bizarre recycled version of Marxism with “race struggle” substituted for “class struggle.”

These latest fads do not improve U.S. education. All they could possibly claim to improve is the level of indoctrination the students face.

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