Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Learning and Knowing the 4 Rs Compared to the 3 Rs ... Although Both Are Important to Learning, Knowing the 4 Rs Matters Most

Learning is important.

Learning how to learn is even more important.

A lifetime of learning is perhaps the most important learning of all.

So is it Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic that are the most important learnings for us in school, or is it, as I would argue, Requiring, Restraining, Realizing and Rewarding that will make the most difference for a successful and rewarding lifetime of achievement?

Here's my take; the 3 Rs are important to know, but the 4 Rs are even more so.

Guess Who's Taking Remedial Classes makes the case for learning the 4 Rs, albeit unintentionally:

"Affluent communities often assume that their well-appointed schools are excellent and that educational malpractice affects only the children of the poor. Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who stepped down in December, was widely criticized when he debunked this myth three years ago and went on to suggest that well-to-do parents who rebelled against the rigorous Common Core learning standards were part of the problem.

The idea that schools in privileged communities are failing to prepare significant numbers of students is borne out in a striking new study showing that nearly half of the students who begin their college careers taking remedial courses come from middle- and upper-income families. Not only do remedial courses add more than $1 billion each year to students’ bills for tuition, but students who start out in these classes take longer to graduate and are far more likely to drop out. . . .

More than a half-million poorly prepared students — or about one in four — were required to take remedial courses in math, English or writing. Forty-five percent of them came from middle-, upper-middle- and high-income families.

Fifty-seven percent of the students needing remedial classes attended public community colleges. The rest went to other schools, including private four-year nonprofit colleges and universities. 

The costs to families are considerable. For example, remedial students at private, nonprofit four-year schools spent an average of $12,000 extra to study content that should have been learned in high school. The total cost for all students and their families for remediation was nearly $1.5 billion for the 2011-12 school year.

The cost can be measured not just in dollars, but also in unmet goals. Among full-time students seeking a bachelor’s degree, those who take remedial courses are 74 percent more likely to drop out of college than nonremedial students. . . .

Part of the problem is that high schools offer a rigorous curriculum for relatively few students and often use a grading system that masks underperformance. . . .

As the study notes, many elected officials, parents and teachers have become complacent about the quality of their schools. This complacency is making it harder for the country to build the kind of education system it needs — one that provides high-level instruction for all children."

Summing Up

No teacher can require (1st R) students to pay attention while sitting in the classroom or to do the assigned homework after class is dismissed.

Similarly, no teacher will restrain (2d R) those same students from paying attention in class or doing the assigned homework after class is dismissed.

The sooner the student realizes (3d R) that the sustained effort he or she puts into learning or not learning, as the case may be, the sooner that student will wisely choose to take full advantage of the learning opportunities presented.

And the more the student takes advantage of the learning opportunities presented, the greater the lifetime rewards (4th R) that will accrue to that hard working, industrious, curious and soon-to-be huuuuugely successful adult.

The 4 Rs should be taught and reinforced everywhere, early and often.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

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