Sunday, March 26, 2006

Focus is good

This morning's Tennessean (page 3A) contained a highly edited version of the New York Times article about schools being forced by No Child Left Behind to focus on the core subjects of reading and math.

What jumped out at me in the Tennessean version, which bemoaned the loss of courses like social studies, science and art, was this quote:

"Experts warn that by reducing the academic menu, schools risk giving bored teenagers the message that school means repetition and drilling."

Wait a minute. If students don't have basic math and reading skills down by the time they're teenagers I don't think your average social studies or science class is really going to be the 'hook' that keeps them engaged in school. Ditto for sports participation. Taxpayers and parents understand that knowing the Monroe Doctrine or the difference between a Renoir and a Monet is good, but knowing how to balance your check book, figuring out your odds of winning the lottery and being able to read that car lease, are more important for every day life.

And of course this article is jumping the gun a bit. The survey upon which the entire article is premised upon won't be released until Tuesday by the Center on Education Policy. This Center makes it quite clear on their website that they are public school proponents and so I don't anticipate much more than the party line in their findings.

1 comment:

George Rand said...

I don't believe that you have to eliminate time for "knowing the Monroe Doctrine or the difference between a Renoir or a Monet" to teach basic science or math. If you'll examine the amount of time devoted to indoctrination by the Madrassas of the left, you'll find plenty of time freed up, just by eliminating undermining of parents'and society's values--e.g. there are many "types" of socially and morally equivalent families and if your parents tell you differently, they are bigots or at best woefully ignorant.