education online (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)
The New York Times article that Dr Alf cites gives examples from failing education systems and dysfunctional ones in poor and remote parts of the world.
Whilst there is a distinction between schooling and education to find the answers that seem to have eluded Annie Lowrey one needs to look at the models of success which do exist in advanced industrial nations.
Countries which have competently run economies, strong support for traditional family life, and marriage, law and order that works and a culture of personal discipline and hard work combined with parental belief in education do best to inculcate a culture of learning, respect for education as a means of betterment.
Combine that with whole class teaching, discipline in the classroom and an intensive regime which deals with the basics, if necessary delivered by rote learning and drills, and you begin to see why in literacy, numeracy and harder subjects, the South Koreans, Chinese, Japanese, Finns and almost everyone else (43 countries) are ahead of the UK, and America in terms of State education.
When it comes to learning, a Russian taxi driver can quote from Russian literature, Dickens and even recite poetry, whereas if I go to the taxi rank at Letchworth station, I might be lucky enough to hear about how busy he is in terms of fares, the football scores and the latest antics of North Herts District Council who rule local taxi drivers and the local area like feudal barons on steroids.
For the laggards, you need Saturday schools and overall you need a longer school-day plus Singapore style performance related pay, no teaching unions and intensive language training.
The idea that teachers could go on strike in these countries is unthinkable and it should be unthinkable on pain of instant dismissal here (in the UK or in the US), along with de-recognition of the teaching unions, combined with a lockout of troublemakers and Ronald Reagan style PATCO firings completed en masse with parallel recruitment of replacements.
The UK suffers from 120,000 dysfunctional families. The children of these families need to be removed and taught in boarding schools run by the Army, in a UK version of the “Troops to Teachers” program, and similar treatment needs to be applied to the NEETS, totaling 1.25 million.
We have to recognize too, the role of diet, nutrition and drug taking as being not conducive to either learning or education.
Diet can be improved by busing children to school for an earlier start and a nutritious set of meals (not rubbish subject to Treasury cost controls).
Fluoride and other IQ lowering drugs can be banned and foods which lower testosterone levels and thus ambition can be banned and removed from the environment as well.
Drug taking could be dealt with by draconian penalties for drug barons of the kind meted out in Singapore but perhaps commuted to life imprisonment without parole and life literally meaning life with the demise of the prisoner taking place in the prison.
None of this is difficult, given the political will, and the drive to make the police do their jobs.
The problem is weak political leadership, and an elite who prefer stupid easy to control people with low drive and a “herd mentality”.