juliespeaks

The unvoiced thoughts and ideas of a septegenarian.

A TRAJEDY

on February 14, 2012

A TRAGEDY

As I grow older I sometimes wish for an opportunity to do something over again.  One does, after all, accumulate experiences and knowledge over the years that would affect how we might have done things differently if we’d had that knowledge ‘back then.’

I have had occasion to learn a good deal about early childhood education and I now deeply regret I didn’t – when my kids were very young – know then what I know now.  Had I known of the infinite learning capabilities of very young children, I would have home-schooled my kids. Had I known of the beauracratic intrusion into today’s classrooms, they’d never have been put in a public school.

Why is it that kids fromChina,Japan,Russia,Polandand elsewhere outscore our kids in almost every subject?  It ought to be clear to the powers that be theU.S.is doing something wrong. You bet we are.  If we ran our military the way we run our educational system soldiers would carry 650 different rifles. We are educating robots – not kids who will grow into adults whose innate curiosity hasn’t been buried in the facts called for on exams.  The squelching of a child’s imagination in preference to test performance is a tragedy.

Where can you find a classroom in which the teacher understands and believes in what Einstein once said, “My gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my ability to acquire knowledge.” In that classroom kids would be encouraged to color outside the lines; to write backwards; to explore a room she has filled with sensory things. They would be given freedom roam and to ask questions.. She would encourage them to look at a boulder and see a galloping steed; to gaze at a cloud and see a teapot. Without development of creative imagination a child grows up to be a robot and robots don’t turn out to be a Jonas Salk, a Marconi, a Steve Jobs.

If she’s a very brave soul she might toss out the prescribed curriculum and texts and choose others more challenging, ignoring  proscribed texts – yet another fly in the ointment. She’d venture outside the classroom for a botany lesson in a forest preserve; a trip  to an  Art museum or an ethnic cultural center. If she taught in a multi-cultural school, she’d take advantage of introducing her students to some of those kids and have them share something indicative of their culture whether a demonstration karate or Irish step dancing.

Add to that the fact that in some schools fifty percent – FIFTY PERCENT – of the kids have been labeled ‘learning disabled’ and are living on Ritalin.  The majority of those kids aren’t learning disabled –  they’re bored. They’ve been pigeon-holed into rooms where their natural curiosity is forced to take second place to test performance. I have to wonder if Einstein was forced to memorize the names of the signers of the Declaration of Independence or the capital cities of each state.

There’s a lot more wrong which I’ll get around to in another posting.

Your views on this subject will be appreciated.

Julie Rose

 

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One response to “A TRAJEDY

  1. readinto says:

    Shortly after getting to know me and hearing tales of my early schoolin’, my dear Elle said, “If you were entering school now, you would be in special ed so fast your head would swim. Said ti with a smile. A knowing smile as she taught special ed for neigh no 30 years before she died.

    But, if Einstein had been allowed to fantasize, we would have had a good author.

    If I had been allowed to color outside the lines, my world would still be messy. Just more colorful.

    Nice work, Julie dear.

    Charley

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