Tuesday, November 21, 2006

No Child Left in Front, Either

It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
--Albert Einstein

Good people wait for a teacher to tell them what to do. This is the most important lesson of all, that we must wait for other people, better trained than ourselves, to make the meanings of our lives.
--John Taylor, Gatto, "The Six-Lesson Schoolteacher"

As if there was a War on Education (Shhhh! Don't tell the sensationalist news media know I said that, or they will seriously run that as a headline for the next nine months!) the recent motto of public education has been "no child left behind," reminiscent of the army creed "never leave a man behind." This is a noble thought to be sure. Everyone gets the same education. Everyone has the same opportunities. Everyone is on the same playing field. Everyone waits in line for bread. Wait! This isn't communist Russia!

What's so wrong with leaving a child behind? If a kid is very bad at math, can't stand it, doesn't like it, then why make him take pre-calculus? Really, what would be the harm? (Side note: Any teacher that answered me with a straight face when I asked them "When will I ever use this in the real world?" was a fucking liar. I have never had to know that Nero was an emperor of Rome or that the sun is a condensed ball of hydrogen and helium. The last time I had to use plane geometry was when I was tutoring the other kids in my plane geometry class because the teacher was too stupid to adequately explain the material.) I'm not saying don't make him learn anything, but if he doesn't like math, but is good at science, why not let him take an extra time doing science instead?

When you have to learn, it sucks. When you want to learn, it's awesome. If the kid doesn't like math, but realizes that it's going to be hard to learn chemistry without it, he'll learn what math he needs to in order to figure chemistry out.

I suppose the question could arise, "What if the kid doesn't want to learn anything?" It's been my experience that this phenomenon starts around later middle-school, early-highschool, when young adults should be old enough to make their own decisions about their education. If they don't want to learn, they can sit in the retard class and color for all I care. If they want to waste their young supple brains on learning nothing, who am I to stop them? I'm guessing, though, that if a child grows up loving to learn, instead of hating it as with the current system, they will continue to want to

I guess the point I'm trying to make is this: Stop focusing on the kids left behind. Teach them as best you can, but don't slow down the rest of the class for them. Focus on the kids yearning to be unbridled in the front; encourage them to excel. Their excellence will more than make up for the deficiencies of the children left behind.

2 comments:

  1. I agree. All the system is teaching those who want to learn is how to be sub-par. I guess striving for mediocrity is the new american way.

    -mags

    ReplyDelete

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