Are students coddled or defeated?

An interesting article this week from Inside Higher Ed claims “Students aren’t coddled; they’re defeated.” The author discusses the high stakes testing environment of secondary education in the U.S. and how it has separated school from learning in a very negative way, which leads to student disengagement. I know I’ve seen similar signs of students’ lack of interest in formal education in my work with classes and in the library, where they chase just what they need to make the grade and have no interest in learning anything beyond that.  The author calls for us in higher education to better connect what we do to students’ futures beyond college, which I feel is an important component for us in community colleges.  The article has apparently struck a chord, as the comments section indicates. What do you think? Is this an area of concern for you, for your institution, for librarianship?  What can be done, if anything?

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One Response to Are students coddled or defeated?

  1. Derek R. says:

    It’s a huge area of concern to me, not only as a librarian/educator, but also as a parent of a child just beginning his journey through years of schooling. I’m dismayed that the glut of standardized testing — and hence standardized curricula — has drained all the vitality and relevance out of education. I understand the imperative to set and measure the attainment of outcomes. But education isn’t (or shouldn’t be) something that can be reduced to a measurement. I feel like everyone around me in the profession has just accepted that it should be, that numerical evidence is fundamentally necessary and without it, everything will be slipshod. That bedrock assumption is why wonderful teachers are stifled. A teacher can veer far from standard curricula, still cover the fundamentals, and engage and even excite their students. I’m not advocating for chaos, but for the power of teachers. When students are fed a diet of processed learning, devoid of connection to themselves or their realities, and missing the unique contributions of each of their teachers, they’re going to grow up trained to consume only what is necessary in order to move on.

    This is sounding very soapbox-y, but I had to vent!


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