July 20, 2007
I really go back and forth on what I think "education" should be. Sometimes I think it should lean more towards teaching people a trade. Other times, like when I read The Closing of the American Mind
, I think it should lean more towards teaching people to think. Unfortunately I think it leans towards neither right now: we seem to produce grads who can neither balance a checkbook nor recognize a syllogism. I don't know what the answer is.
But I sure know it's not this:
British secondary schools will drop Winston Churchill from a list of figures to be mentioned in history teaching. Also dropped: Hitler, Gandhi, Stalin and Martin Luther King. The schools will now be emphasizing "lessons on debt management, the environment and healthy eating."
The article's accompanying graph is chock full of frightening tidbits like "Less on electricity and magnetism, more on IVF, stem cells, vivisection and nuclear energy." Look, I hated figuring out resistance of circuits as much as the next person, but you have to work on hard things in school. It's not all debates on stem cell research. That's what your blog is for.
The more I think about this, the stupider I think it is. It's like they're replacing tried-and-true schooling with whatever's in vogue. Science knows a heck of a lot more how electricity and magnetism work than how stem cells do. How are they going to pin down what to teach about stem cells when we're not positive how they work? The same goes for teaching how to make "healthy meals"; aren't we always hearing new studies that something that was once good/bad for us is now the opposite? Butter, margarine, eggs, chocolate, wine, how many times have we scratched our heads over new evidence on what we should eat?
Why are they abandoning the basics of education for stuff that's so subjective?
Posted by: Sarah at
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Man, I live for these blog posts from you. It's like the Church of Sarah. And I am sitting in the pews saying: Amen!
Posted by: CaliValleyGirl at July 20, 2007 06:01 AM (deur4)
You make excellent points. The problem is not, however (and I'm speaking as a former teacher and homeschooling mom now) that there is not enough time to teach everything - it's that schools too often go over and over the same things every single year. And they don't cover it very well no matter when they do it.
I faced that problem when I was in the classroom - and I've always used a reading heavy curriculum for history, English, and Science. My homework for the students was to read good historical fiction that went along with whatever we were studying. That brought it alive for them and they retained it.
I managed to cover William Wilberforce AND Winston Churchill very nicely, thank you very much. And I continue that with my kids at home.
Further, it used to be the domain of school to teach kids the facts and for parents to add in the cultural activities that round us all out and make us intelligent individuals capable of rational thought. The tables have been turned now, though. Schools are supposed to hold Chinese New Year celebrations, Cinco de Mayo parties, and Kwanzaa. All that takes away from actual LEARNING.
I take my kids to those things on my own, thank you very much. I don't need the school to catch my back with it. Nor does anyone else. Schools should not be in the business of parenting... except in totalitarian societies.
//sorry for the rant
Posted by: airforcewife at July 20, 2007 06:10 AM (emgKQ)
Holy crap. I am definitely home-schooling my kids when (if) they come along. That's beyond ridiculous, that's freakin scary.
I fixed my boo-boo... you're now linked on my blog. 'Cause I read you so often. And my computer is now dead, along with all the bookmarks I had, which made it easy for me to not link people.
Posted by: Green at July 20, 2007 08:31 PM (VqW06)
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