Monday, January 21, 2013

American Education's War on Student Engagement: We're Losing Them!

A recent Gallup survey delivered what I would consider much worse news than that our students aren't first place on the latest international assessments. That news simply stated was:

"The longer our students stay in school, the less engaged they become."

In a word, we are boring our students into oblivion. This issue is not something a new set of standards will fix, nor will a "new generation of assessments fix." Engagement is a product of what we are asking our students to learn and how we are asking them to learn. Apparently, the more we keep kids in school, the less they see the point.

Here's some other interesting points from the survey's report.
  • Perhaps our overzealous focus on standardized testing in this country is one of the culprits killing student engagement.
  • Our school system is not only failing to embrace entrepreneurial talent in our students: we are actually neutralizing that talent.
Instead of chasing after test scores and adopting new standards, perhaps it is time to start honestly looking at those things that are causing students to disengage and simply change them. But I realize that is too simple. I suspect the real culprit is this tight-fisted grip Americans have on keeping schools as they are, because, after all, they worked for me, but that is probably a question for another blog post.

The truth is though, the kids are no longer buying what we're selling, yet we keep selling. It is time to fundamentally do things differently.

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