Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sacrificing the Kids. For What?

Do not permit any of your children to be offered as a sacrifice to Molech, for you must not bring shame on the name of your God. -- Leviticus 18:21 (New Living Translation ©2007)
There are public elementary school principals who have cut recess out of the schedule so their pupils can spend more time on the things that really give them joy: test preparation and eating kale.

Actually, kids hate both testing and kale. But the adults in their lives, whose convenience governs all, push the kids to it. Why? To enhance National Competitiveness! Or to meet those all important program goals: “Every Child a Scientist!” or “Every Child a Candidate for a Harvard medical degree!” Elementary schoolkids lose recess and high-schoolers are tracked, so that the Children who are Not being Left Behind don’t infect the rest with whatever it is that prevents the NCLB-ers, too, from being a Left Behind. Ambitious parents could hardly be more supportive.

The New York Times of February 24 2009 (D5) reported research supporting the notion that recess is as important for a child’s learning as are test-taking drills. To quote an ancient maxim, “Ipso est, du-uh!” (See also School: It's way more boring than when you were there)

No adult would put up with the boredom and pointlessness – especially if they received no pay for it -- of much of what adults inflict on school kids. When it comes to thinking things through many, many people, adults as well as kids, find themselves in dire straits. In that case, how can you tell the adults from the kids? A simple rule of thumb: inflictor → adult; sufferer →kid; good sense →none.

To examine these issues further, see "Tracking" in Public Education: preparation for the world of work?

-- EGR

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