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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Abandonment Of Thought

Sept 14th, 2011

There is a devastating piece in Salon by Daniel Denvir on the state of American education and not in the way you might think. It would seem that in the quest for the stultifying confomity of instituitonalized results, I am sorry, I mean higher standardized scoring, fundamentals that have defined our growth culturally for thousands of years are just simply being abandoned. He writes:

"Forty-nine million or so American children have returned to public school classrooms that are, according to many critics, ever more boring. Preparation for increasingly high-stakes tests has reduced time for social studies and science. Austerity state and federal budgets are decimating already hobbled music, art, library and physical education budgets.

"When reading and math count and nothing else does, then less time and resources are devoted to non-tested subjects like the arts, science, history, civics and so on," education historian Diane Ravitch, a well-known high-stakes testing critic and one-time proponent, writes in an email to Salon.

Supporters of the self-described "education reform" movement counter that evaluating teachers based on test scores is the only way to ensure good teaching, and that focused attention on reading and math is necessary to boost poor students' achievement.

But the achievement gap is still wide, and there is (hotly disputed) evidence that students are afforded less time for creative inquiry. A 2007 Center on Education Policy study found that 44 percent of elementary schools had decreased instructional time spent on non-tested subjects since the 2002 implementation of No Child Left Behind, on average reducing time spent teaching the scorned subjects by 32 percent."

Please read the full article and the corresponding study. They beg that we question just what the hell it is we are we are trying to achieve. What future is this that we are preparing for? If the answer is technically limited drones streamlined to serve in narrow capacities for global corporations, then I think we are actually doing a damn fine job. But I have news for the progenitors of this hive-structured "education."

Music is math. It is math in every sense. Literally. It is math that is physical. Which is but a single point of many that lead me to very much dread the administrators in charge.

And I pity the children. For very soon, there may be no child lifted up.

1 comment:

  1. One of the nasty results of this sort of problem is that people stop THINKING. When I teach at local universities the kids can't write - they now write lab reports like a text message - YIKES and they can't THINK. Assimilating and disseminating information are vital for the next generation. Maybe this is how the thoughtless drivel dished out by the right wing is bought hook, line and sinker.