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  • Rainbow Warriors

    Republican National Convention

    MINNEAPOLIS — As one might expect, the contrast between an education panel hosted by the conservative American Solutions and one hosted by the National Education Association (NEA) is stark. At the downtown Minneapolis Club this afternoon, the Republican Main Street Partnership co-hosted “An Education Forum on 21st Century Skills” with the NEA. Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), co-founder of RMSP, headlined the event, but NEA executive director John Wilson did most of the talking.

    Like this morning’s American Solutions session, Wilson opened by talking about how the future of the United States depends on preparing our children to compete in a global marketplace against India and China. Also like the American Solutions panel, there was strong agreement that the U.S. had a 20th century education system that badly needed to be updated for a 21st century world. That is where the similarities ended. Where the conservatives in the morning wanted more accountability through increased educational choices, the NEA wanted … a rainbow:
    Or to be more precise, a “Rainbow of 21st Century Skills.” Instead of an increased focus on math and science, the NEA wants time spent on “Learning and Innovation,” “Information, Media and Technology,” and “Life and Career” skills. Never mind that one in three fourth-graders scores “below basic” in reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Or that 29 % of eighth graders scored “below basic” in mathematics on the same test. Instead of letting schools focus on the basics, the NEA believes “schools must move beyond a focus on basic competency in core subjects to promoting understanding of academic content at much higher levels by weaving 21st century interdisciplinary themes into core subjects.” Got that? In what those themes the NEA wants to eat up class time: Global Awareness; Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy; Civic Literacy; and Health Literacy.

    The most revealing part of Wilson’s presentation was when he talked about the surefire success The Partnership for 21st Century Skills will experience. Wilson explained: “Our coalition includes education, business, and government. When these three groups get together to change public schools there is nothing we can’t do.” We know who ‘business’ and ‘government’ are. But who exactly is ‘education’ made up of? Not students. And definitely not the parents who are in such desperate need of control of their children’s education.

    Posted in Education [slideshow_deploy]

    5 Responses to Rainbow Warriors

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    2. Pingback: C-SPAN Convention Hub: Republican National Convention (RNC) – John McCain 2008 » Blog Archive » Rainbow Warriors

    3. Alux says:

      As a strong conservative, I almost never agree with the NEA, but as an American who has taught in France and China, I have to say that the NEA is correct on this point. While math and science are extremely important, the narrow focus on these core subjects reduces creativity and therefore innovation, which is obvious is you look at French and Chinese societies in comparison with their American peers. Math and Science must be buttressed with a liberal education if the US is to remain competitive.

    4. Kelly, Castle Rock C says:

      The only way to fix the government school system, is to privatize it. The proper role of government is to protect its citizen's rights, not to educate them.

      In addition, it is not the responsibility of all citizens to pay for the education of other people's children. The government should stop collecting taxes to run ineffective schools, and leave money in the pockets of parents (where it belongs) so that they may choose the school they want their children to attend.

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