I’m starting a new tradition here, MYRLN Mondays. I have, on occasion, quoted emails from him that I wish I had written. He has agreed, when he’s got something to say, to let me post it here. Always on a Monday.
I have known him for more almost 50 years. He is a friend. He is part of my family. I appreciate his being willing to let me use his thoughts, his words, his passions, to give some variety to this weblog.
So, heeeerre’s MYRLN‘s first Monday:
CAN YOU SAY NUCLEAR?
The greatest real danger to our country is not terrorism, as our current lords and masters would have us believe. The greatest danger is stupidity: the stupidity rampant among those in power and the current and future stupidity promised by the gross failure of our schooling systems.
Why do schools fail so miserably at getting the best out of our kids? Aside from the idiocies imposed from above the actual teaching level, it’s because schools are preoccupied with stuffing things into our kids. And that makes all the difference in the world. The heart of educating someone is not a matter of how much you can stuff in but of how much you can draw out. That’s the root meaning of education: “educe: to draw out.” Getting kids to open up, to find out what their interests and passions are, to learn what angle to use to get them individually excited about learning — those need to be the first steps to education, to “drawing out.” Get there first, and then teaching the subject matter — the reading, writing, ‘rithmetic, and sciences — can begin because you will have learned how best to offer them to each student. And will we then get the nice, uniform results we seem to so passionately crave? Sorry, no. Uniformity isn’t the goal, either.
Each student we open up to their own capabilities, interests, passions, dreams will take their learning in their self-determined direction. They will live their lives in their own manner, using what they’ve learned to achieve that. That’s the ultimate goal of education.
Oh…too hard? Too idealistic? Tough. That’s our job. Learning is the goal, not indoctrination. And unfortunately, the latter is the real objective of the testing-based methodology that forms the basis for what’s called education today. Indoctrination. Let’s make our kids good, subservient cogs in our economic machines. To hell with what interests them, what revs their engines and generates a real thirst for learning, That’s not what we’re after. We need machine parts. And truly-educated people make lousy machine parts. They can think and judge and act independently.
And they can pronounce nuclear.