From news service reports

CHICAGO – Teachers unions offer a lot of excuses for low academic achievement in schools. They blame it on parents, poverty, cultural differences, or a lack of school funding. But could it be that schools simply don’t have high enough expectations, and don’t challenge students enough?

Consider the following from Heartlander Magazine:

Indiana University’ High School Survey of Student Engagement found most recently that: “Among (U.S.) Public High School students: 82.7% spend 5 or fewer hours a week on homework. 42.5% spend an hour or less each week on their homework.”

DangerexpectationsThis may help to explain how they manage to free up 53 hours a week to play with electronic entertainment media, but is there any effect of such low academic expectations on our students’ engagement with the educational enterprise we provide for them?

Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education reported on January 7: “Gallup research strongly suggests that the longer students stay in school, the less engaged they become. The Gallup Student Poll surveyed nearly 500,000 students in grades five through 12 from more than 1,700 public schools in 37 states in 2012. We found that nearly eight in 10 elementary students who participated in the poll are engaged with school. By middle school that falls to about six in 10 students. And by high school, only four in 10 students qualify as engaged. Our educational system sends students and our country’s future over the school cliff every year.”

The obvious statement which applies here seems to be that we have driven high school students to distraction by asking them to do little or no homework and by spending billions of dollars to lead them to prefer electronic entertainment media to the academic work on which their futures depend.

If we don’t take young people’s academic work seriously, neither will they. What we take seriously we have a chance of doing well, and when we don’t, we have little chance of achievement there. Verbum Sap.

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