Prenatal Education

Educating the Fetus

 I haven’t been involved in formal education for over 30 years, and am out of the loop. Any information derived is from writers, politicians and my grandchildren. I apologize to those active in the field for my apparent obsolete views on education.

 When I heard the Department of Education wants to test 4 year olds I was in disbelief. It would be more sensible to test our congressional member who became involved in the quagmire in the Middle East with little or no knowledge about the history or culture of this region. Some have proved that they were D students in 6th grade American History and don’t have to mention names.

 The next step in the testing frenzy will use some form of technology to test the fetuses in the mother’s womb. I’ve heard some parents transmitting tapes of math and reading into the enlarged abdomens of pregnant mothers to give their babies a head start.

 Writer David Scrota, a writer and radio personality ratifies that “because of this craziness we’re being out educated by countries going in the opposite direction. He claims nations like “Finland and Korea—top scorers on the program International Student assessment” have largely eliminated the crowded testing when these nations were much lower achieving.”     

 Contrary to our approach they reject the testing we extol and teachers are regarded as professionals instead of portraying teachers as evil parasites. They are well paid and trained on the job which entices students to enter the profession.

 Harvard’s Tony Wagner who narrates the film “The Finland Phenomenon” says, “Because they have created such a high level of professionalism, they can trust their teachers.” He further claims Finland is more racially homogenous than America and is an economically equal society while education doesn’t vary across class lines.

 To abbreviate this discourse the chance of treating our teachers as professionals with esteem and pay is but a dream as we need someone to blame for our children’s inefficiencies. We will also be unable to eliminate the large gap between class lines or our fetish with standardized testing. Our only hope may be prenatal testing and education.     

 

 

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10 responses to “Prenatal Education

  1. Sali Cosford Parker

    In 1904, the French government asked psychologist Alfred Binet for a way to predict which children would function normally in a school environment and those who might have difficulty. The government thought to place the latter in educational situations where they would receive more individual attention – thus increasing their potential to succeed in school.
    Binet and colleague Theophile Simon developed the Simon-Binet Scale based on test results of Paris schoolchildren. In the tests, children were given tasks to accomplish – following commands, copying patterns, naming objects and properly arranging or ordering things. Analyzing the results by age, Binet determined that if 70 percent of 8-year-olds could successfully accomplish the tasks, success on the test represented the 8-year-old level of intelligence. Taking the child’s test score (“mental age”) and dividing it by his/her chronological age, then multiplying by 100, resulted in that child’s “intelligence quotient.”
    Hence the term “IQ,” entered the world’s vocabulary.
    Binet and Simon were clear that their scale did not indicate an inability to learn, and feared that it would become a permanent assessment of an individual’s intellectual capability. Clearly Binet and Simon were seers as well as psychologists.

  2. Sali,
    I’m familiar with the Binet IQ test and banned it in my schools as considered it racist and unfair to children of the poor. I only allowed the performance part of the Wisk IQ test if needed.

    Don

  3. Vicki Sue McKinnis

    I had the opportunity to attend elementary school with a group of teachers who concerned themselves with providing an environment wherein our curiosity was stimulated. The arts were as much a part of the curriculum as math and science. What they taught us wouldn’t transfer to the kind of test results the government is demanding these days. It’s sad, because that teaching style set us on a course of desiring continual education and exploration. I don’t see how that will be instilled in students with teachers under the gun of the current testing fervor.

  4. Sali Cosford Parker

    I agree, Vicki – what we learned would never translate to today’s kind of tests. Of course, our teachers didn’t need to contend with “No Child Left Behind,” which freed them up to do the work they clearly loved. We were taught to think, not just regurgitate names and dates. Novel, huh?

    Back in the Dark Ages when I was teaching, most of my exams were oral and all were “open book.” Three things were important: 1) ability to gather pertinent, reliable information, 2) critical analysis and 3) developing cogent and defensible arguments. Imagine trying to do that in today’s environment.

  5. It is a difficult profession to go into as teaching is looked down upon, especially elementary teachers. Having politicians that know little about education and want numbers on tests to prove competence have put the profession in a bad light. I remember when it was an honor to be a teacher.

  6. Vicki Sue McKinnis

    Indeed! Sali, Luanne will also remember that we were fortunate to be in an elementary school full of “beat nicks.” Creative writing was emphasized, and I still sing “bob-a-doo-be-dip-ba-ba-ba doo” to the tune of “Blue Skies.” I fear that teachers are being discouraged and stifled and students are not having the love of learning instilled in them.

  7. Sali Cosford Parker

    Yes, I too remember when it was an honor to be a teacher. But then I also remember when it was an honor to be an American. Wow – like, do you suppose one decline had, like, anything to do with the other?

  8. Vicki Sue McKinnis

    Sad but true, Sali. I’ve been reading The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto lately, and noting his theory that our thoughts and words have power. Is it too much to hope that we, as a nation will turn to honesty, and with integrity live the laws of the land? If so, he gives hope for us to turn this tide around.
    I appreciate my Dad’s efforts to blog about what’s going on in an effort to wake folks up to the need to pay attention to history so it doesn’t have to repeat itself. Let’s hope for change— and fast.

  9. The decline of the country and education are both related. Ever since the labor movement created the middle class the ruling class according to plan have worked towards diminishing any power of labor through the destruction of the union movement. Union membership in the private sector has been reduced to 7% and they are now in the process of doing the same in government jobs. The attack on teachers is to break not only the teachers union, but all government employees. The Koch brothers are using tools like the Tea Party to further this plan.

  10. Vicki Sue McKinnis

    Along with destroying the middle class, it sounds like the “elite” are also using these banker debts to break down the sovereignty of each country, using the IMF loans to loot the public coffers as they transfer the debts to the tax payers. Wonder what it will take before the wake-up.

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