There has been much discussion recently about the harm being done to education by Outcome Based Education (OBE) and Goals 2000, which are related to increased involvement of the government in public education. Many features of OBE have been in operation in Utah public schools for several years and have failed to produce any significant improvement in education.
The duplicity and destructiveness of the sociological and psychological ideas and practices taking place in the public schools of Utah at this time can be illustrated by the recent emphasis on self-esteem. Everyone will agree that self-esteem is very much needed and is praiseworthy. However, in many schools teachers were ordered by administrators to make self-esteem their top priority in working with their students.Under this pressure, teachers started giving credit to students, who needed to build their self-esteem, for work they hadn't done. Credit was given for nonskill-based activities in place of more rigorous work usually required. Students who still didn't know how to read and write were allowed to graduate from high school.
The misuse of the principle of self-esteem has resulted in many students leaving school to enter society without any true respect for themselves. Instead of feeling socially equal to others, these students are now going to feel socially inferior for the rest of their lives.
It is also obvious in many of our universities today that many incoming students are able to memorize and pass tests, but they don't know how to think or how to write. They are really not prepared to do university work or to function properly in society.
Students must learn the basic skills through their own efforts and construct their own understanding of the world they live in. Memorizing the philosophical interpretation of others given in a very restricted context does very little to improve one's ability to think. It is the struggle to develop your own views and interpretations that makes possible future success and happiness.
Jess R. Bushman