The Scariest Show on TV proves we remember little of our schooling; but as schools demand more, the students hate it more, and they remember less & less.
Some years ago I saw a t-shirt that read, “The beatings will continue until morale improves.” This applies to all sorts of bureaucracies, but particularly to school boards and legislatures as they govern education.
It also gives a pretty good insight into the results. Government will spend about $1 trillion this year on education — and that does not include private/parochial schools, nor tuitions for post-secondary education — and we will each invest between 13 and 17 years of our children’s lives in education.1)Or more. I estimate that I have invested about 27 years in different educational institutions. So far no kewpie doll.
It’s almost a complete waste of time and money.
No, let me correct that: it is an abusive waste of time and money.
To my mind, the scariest show on TV is Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? The first time I saw it, I was horrified. Everyone was sitting around laughing and having a great time, when all I could see was pain and tragedy. Except that The Hunger Games movies hadn’t come out yet, Jeff Foxworthy could be Caesar Flickerman’s doppelgänger.
Why can’t we see the tragic aspect of it all? We are pushing everyone through this grinding, painful, hateful system, and we can’t remember the simple, most basic stuff we learned in the first 6 years. If we can’t remember that much, the rest of it must be a complete waste of time.
And it is. I remember some years ago sitting on the Education Committee for the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce, and I asked the Committee a few questions, ordinary things that we all studied:
I wasn’t up for any popularity contests that day. But consider, these were community leaders, many of them highly educated, and a couple of them were University faculty.
Think about our educational paradigms: go through school, memorize gobs of information, spit it out for a test.
And then never remember it – or use it – again.
I remember thinking of my medical school exams as a ‘dump memory’ exercise.2)Of course, the difference is that some of what I learned in medical school I still remember, because I use it. And just about all of it is important to one or more medical specialties. Well, except for maybe the #@%! Krebs cycle.
The kids aren’t learning enough? The teachers aren’t teaching enough? Well, let’s make make them learn more. That doesn’t do it?
Then by all means, pile on more.
It reminds me of Soviet production goals. When the peasants didn’t meet their quotas, rather than study the system and figure out where the problem was, the Politburo just increased the quotas.
The beatings will continue until learning improves. That’s how we look at education. It doesn’t work. And in the next few weeks, I’ll argue that it is harmful, it is intellectual abuse. Because the fact of the matter is, those of us who succeed in life are not products of education.
We’re survivors of it.
Picture courtesy of RowanFreePress.com.
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↑||Or more. I estimate that I have invested about 27 years in different educational institutions. So far no kewpie doll.|
|2.||↑||Of course, the difference is that some of what I learned in medical school I still remember, because I use it. And just about all of it is important to one or more medical specialties. Well, except for maybe the #@%! Krebs cycle.|