Friday, March 14, 2008

March Madness

We are nearing the middle of March and for educators, the Madness has begun. School districts all over the country have put teaching on hold, unless of course that teaching involves material worthy of our standardized tests.

So who decided what is worthy?

Below are the 5 activities suggested by Herbert Spencer as "Worthy" to be included in the curriculum:

1. those activities which directly minister to self-preservation;

2. those activities which, by securing the necessaries of life, indirectly minister to self preservation;

3. those activities which have for their end the rearing and discipline of offspring;

4. those activities which are involved in the maintenance of proper social and political relations;

5. those miscellaneous activities which fill up the leisure part of life, devoted to the gratification of tastes and feelings.

For those you not familiar with Herbie...he made this prescription in 1859!
The Skinny ~ Science & Math wins...Arts & Humanities lose...

Not much has changed. The alarm bells are ringing loudly sounding America's failure to produce the next generation of Scientists and Engineers...Great American's like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates who...who...dropped out of college?

Like it or not, America is not now, nor should we aspire to become the cradle of engineering. What American's have done and hopefully will continue to do better than anyone else on the planet is foster innovation and creative thought.

According to Yong Zhao from last Februarys' AASA conference, pushing for high math and science scores will not help the United States remain a global economic leader; it will only "discriminate against other talents. … Testing restrains the definition of knowledge".

"Right now, the U.S. need for foreign-language speakers outweighs the need for engineers."

Zhao concluded by saying that "we need to become innovators in a digital world," a goal that can be achieved only through curiosity, risk, and creativity.

Click here to link to Yong Zhao's full comments.

So back to the original question: What is Worthy?

Calling Elliot Eisner, school administrators, teachers, parents, students...Don't let the "Art" of education be lost.

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