Here is a question many of you would probably consider a bit whimsical, if not heretical; but I assure you, it has a dead serious intent.  If you were education czar, what would YOU require be taught (or not taught) in American schools?

Let me get you started.  Here are three things that I believe SHOULD be taught but AREN’T: metric system; evolution; critical thinking.

And here are three that ARE being taught, but SHOULDN’T: spelling; long division; propaganda.

My full list is much longer; but I would like to hear your thoughts.  If I get responses, I am prepared to vigorously defend my philosophical positions.

Also, what do you think should be the ultimate goals of education?  As a teacher for 36 years, mine were the development of ATTITUDES; specifically - responsibility, self-reliance, creativity, initiative, integrity; and most of all - the value of hard work.  And repeated testing/grading do NOTHING to inculcate these values.  I hate to say it, but most American teachers test and grade in order to avoid the hard work of teaching 40 kids in a classroom.  That’s not entirely their fault, though.  It is the fault of the entire 19th century paradigm under which our education system stuggles, impotently, to succeed. 

By the way: Sal Khan ROCKS!   

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Comment by archaeopteryx on October 17, 2012 at 11:04pm

All too often, Ed, people become overly alarmed about temporary trends. The thing to ask, is will this trend last and change the language completely, or will those responsible grow up to condemn others who abuse the language?

I see by your avatar, that you have long hair, as do I, but I also recall a time when those with long hair were ostracized, but things leveled out, and now the decision for men to wear their hair long or short, is viewed more as a personal preference, than an affront to society. Times change, and often, along with them, attitudes.

Comment by Unseen on October 18, 2012 at 12:02am

Brevity, when not required, needs to take a back seat to clarity. Clarity is best achieved when the communication medium is used according to mutually understood rules.

Comment by Unseen on October 18, 2012 at 12:23am

"long division is a special case of one that traditionally requires far more classroom time to teach than is efficacious"

Translating that into plain English, you're saying that most kids spend time studying long division without learning it, aren't you? Why is it then that most of us can do long division?

Let's take that kind of argument further. Most people who take college-level philosophy don't end up being competent philosophers. Does it follow, then, that we should shut down the college philosophy courses? 

Comment by Ed on October 18, 2012 at 9:49pm

@ Arch

Texting, with all it's inherent dangers, will hopefully prove to be just a social trend that finally fades away. But I wonder.

Comment by archaeopteryx on October 18, 2012 at 10:01pm

I don't look for it exactly to fade, but possibly to be replaced by voice-recognition software, or something comparable. I know MY thumbs get tired!

Comment by archaeopteryx on October 18, 2012 at 10:03pm

Personally, I've yet to see how that's easier than just a simple PHONE CALL!

Comment by Unseen on October 18, 2012 at 10:11pm

The kids like texting because they can do it unobtrusively around other people who can't listen in. They can also covertly do it in class rather than paying attention, which explains a lot in terms of the functional illiteracy one sees in so many of the young.

Some kids text hundreds of times per day, which I think qualifies it as an OCD.


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