Repeating the mistakes of the US and British education systems

Easter and once again it is time to have a go at the teaching profession. What’s new? In fairness, your editorial of April 7 admits that the education system in Ireland has suffered from cutbacks, increasing class size, etc.

Repeating the mistakes of the US and British education systems

Teacher unions must stand up and reclaim what they lost; that, after all, is what any union is supposed to do for its members. However, I fear for the education system in Ireland. Your readers should be made aware of a growing movement across the industrialised world: GERM (Global Education Reform Movement) is supported and funded by large corporations to influence school curriculums and supply workers for their industries.

This is a narrow curriculum and will produce technically skilled workers, but what about the students who don’t fit into this STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Maths) system?

Are students who have a gift for art, history, geography, drama, music, etc, to be left to flounder in a world that only acknowledges technology and maths?

I urge any parent with an interest in the education of their children to look at what happened in the USA, where constant testing and back-to-basics education have failed miserably.

I also encourage parents and people with a serious interest in education to read The Education Debate, by Stephen J. Ball (2013). Ball traces the education policies of our near-neighbours in the UK over the last 30 years. Today, in the UK, the education system is in tatters. Schools are closing, teachers are being removed, academies and free schools are opening up and hiring unqualified teachers, and are introducing a narrow curriculum.

Public monies are being given to private organisations to run schools, teachers are under pressure to ensure their students perform well in standardised tests, and are even lowering requirements so that more students pass the exams. In a recent interview on BBC Television (Thursday, March 12), Ed Miliband, leader of the Labour Party in the UK, castigated the British education system.

Miliband said that the curriculum was too narrow and not educating children properly.

A close look at the Framework for Junior Cycle clearly shows that our government and education minister are following the path that has failed in the UK and the US, with reference to standardised testing in English reading, mathematics and in science.

Dr. David O Grady

New Street

Killarney

Co Kerry

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