Public health intervention more than any other "science" has done more for humankind than anything else over the last 200 years. Forget industrialization, forget inventions - how we live in abundance and health is most definitely related to the things put into place by public health: sanitation, universal medical treatments like vaccination, pre/post natal care, medical screening, public safety measures and so much more.....
I find it curious that we don't have "public education intervention" as a core policy and fundamental tenent of creating a society that is educated. There should be an office in every country/city with a budget and the power to effect these kind of "pan" educational changes.
We know the effects that poverty has on education. High drop out rates, delinquency, school violence, decreased motivation, poor results/grades etc..... Why not focus efforts away from better tests, more "X" in schools, fancy textbooks, better teachers (yes, I mean this), decreasing standards etc.... They are only dealing with the symptoms of a much wider problems - call it, "the poverty of stimulus" problem.
Children that are poor under perform for the following reasons.
1. Poor nutrition. This effects their day to day learning and more so, their development. Physical development of nerves, tissue, the whole physical system is retarded.
2. Health. They live with limited access to proper health monitoring. Children in many places live in poor environments where health is effected by unsanitary and impurities (toxins, like lead are more prevelent in poor environments).
3. Poor inputs. Families are more prone to disruption, violence, stress. This effects children. Their home environments lack books, internet access, critical conversation. Role models stressing the value of education are lacking and in total there is a poor stimulus. Children don't learn because their environment is "intellectually" poor.
I think we need a new science in education - the science of Public Education Intervention. Let's put our dollars into attacking poverty. If we do - we'll get many more results than better tests and more assessments. Let's stop such magic shell games.
Stephen Krashen bless his soul, has focused on this important issue. Watch this interview with him (he's in marvellous form) and think about what if.... What if put huge resources into enriching the educational access and environments of all children. What if we put our efforts towards creating the conditions for proper learning rather than the "dog eat dog" world which now exists? Education should not be a way out of poverty. Education is about a lot more .......
Here's a doc. that discusses the above - from a Canadian perspective.
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