Against Outcome Based Education

The American education system is fraught with issues. Just this last May, a report showed that at a D.C. public school, only 5% of the students had on-grade reading abilities. Only 1% were on track with their mathematics knowledge, and no student was competent in the basic science they were meant to learn. Despite these abysmal numbers, the high school still boasts a 70% graduation rate. The decline of American education has been going on for a while, and parents and teachers alike have been looking for a way to solve the issues.

Outcome Based Education (OBE) is one such solution. OBE says every child should have a designated outcome, but some may struggle to get to that point. Therefore, OBE allows kids to redo tests and assignments repeatedly until they pass. Phyllis Schlafly argued that the push for OBE was among the most important political issues in the early 90s. Although this was over 3 decades ago, school administrations still push for systems like OBE.

Phyllis wrote: “Under OBE, the student has no incentive to study, work hard, and pass a test because he can always take it again later. Since the primary goal is to develop self-esteem and to be part of the group, rather than to learn or to achieve, OBE bans competition, honors, and traditional subject matter courses and grades.”

Instead of grades, students get letters indicating whether they are growing, showing strength, or needing improvement. Self-esteem replaces education in the classroom. Despite the positive on the supposed next greatest thing in education, Phyllis pointed out that parents were not impressed and OBE was regularly voted down in elections. Nevertheless, OBE has been rolled out in many forms across the United States. This has only served to hurt the students who need education the most.

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