A retired high school teacher who has been awarded multiple times for his work, Kenneth Bernstein, issued a warning in Academe and then reprinted in The Washington Post: “Professors beware—students educated under the No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top policies are heading your way,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Bernstein explained, “I want to warn you of what to expect from the students who will be arriving in your classroom, even if you teach in a highly selective institution.”
There was one mistake in his warning, that the students have already arrived at law schools and colleges across the country. They are not properly prepared for rigorous reading, critical thinking, working independently and high-level writing.
Bernstein talked about how for more than a decade, the culture of test taking and teaching to the test has dominated public and private schools alike all over the country. Now these teaching methods are being felt in colleges because those students are arriving from the high school levels.
Professors talked about their concern of the cultural shift at the Association of American Law Schools conference in January. Some of the professors at the conference said that the writing skills of their current students are some of worst they have ever seen.
The approach of teaching to the test is becoming increasingly popular even in Advanced Placement courses that provide college credit. The reason for this is the rankings in magazines schools try to attain. Schools have lost funding, enrollment, and teachers because of under-performance on tests by students.