“Why school subjects ever came to be standardized I cannot guess. Why history and not botany? Geography and not geology? Maths and not civics? I think the lesson may lie in the words of the old public-school headmaster: ‘It doesn’t matter what you teach a boy so long as he dislikes it.’ — A.S. Neill from p104 of Summerhill School: A New View of Childhood
“All that any child needs is the three Rs; the rest should be tools and clay and sports and theatre and paint and freedom. … I am not decrying learning. But learning should only come after play. And learning should not be deliberately seasoned with play to make it palatable.” p102
“Creators learn what they want to learn in order to have the tools that their originality and genius demand. We do not know how much creation is killed in the classroom with its emphasis on learning.” p108
“I was born undisciplined. Never, even as a child, could I be made to obey a set rule. What little I know I learned at home. School was always like a prison to me, I could never bring myself to stay there, even four hours a day, when the sun was shining and the sea was so tempting, and it was such fun scrambling over cliffs and paddling in the shallows. Such, to the great despair of my parents, was the unruly but healthy life I lived until I was fourteen or fifteen. In the meantime I somehow picked up the rudiments of reading, writing and arithmetic, with a smattering of spelling. And there my schooling ended. It never worried me very much because I always had plenty of amusements on the side. I doodled in the margins of my books, I decorated our blue copy paper with ultra-fantastic drawings, and I drew the faces and profiles of my schoolmasters as outrageously as I could, distorting them out of all recognition.”
== Claude Monet, quoted in: Denis Rouart (1972) Claude Monet, p. 21 : About his youth
Standardized testing is so 1.0 “On a recent morning at Riverside Elementary School, Alyssa Walter, 7, opened her first-grade “data binder,” in which she recorded progress on reading and math tasks throughout the year.”
“Preparing students for their cubicle lives in an Orwellian future is probably the fairest thing we can do, I guess…”
“There is plenty of research data that says physical activities improve learning, attention and scores. But no one is pushing physical activities as requirement in any school.”
“Well, can’t say this trend isn’t preparing kids for life in the real world, where, as adults, most will be poked, prodded and bullied by number by bosses and HR managers all their lives.”
I really do think traditional schools will eventually move in the direction of “continuous testing” aka data collection. So there is no need for a test… you’ve been collecting the (standardized) data all along. “Big Data”.
At our kids’ Sudbury school the “data” collected I suppose includes:
1. The number of times they add money to their discretionary account (tracking the amount of clay they bought and/or the number of fundraiser lunches they’ve partaken of?)
2. Sign-in and -out times. Since there is no fixed start and stop times, kids write down the time when they arrive and leave. But I don’t think this makes it into a database actually. Just for the attendance clerk to note people who are not attending. It also helps people at school know who is there. For instance, if it is 10:15am (or 4:15pm) and you can’t find Ansel, you might first check to see if he has signed-in (or out) for the day or not.
3. J.C. violations. Not much to learn there…
4. If you look at the list on the side of the microwave you can see the “data” of who is certified to use it. But no dates. Darn! Still that’s something I suppose!
“[T]he U.S. government, including the U.S. Department of Education, is prohibited by law from taking any action that would direct, control, or supervise curriculum or instruction. … but it would be hard to find a teacher who would agree that neither Common Core nor the federally funded online tests has any effect on curriculum and instruction. Common Core and the related testing has had a dramatic effect on both. And, so, at risk of being called a name by Alexander, I would say (having worked for two years in the U.S. Department of Education) that the federal encouragement of Common Core and the federal funding of the Common Core tests directly conflicts with federal law.”
“In 2010, I was invited to the White House to meet with Melody Barnes, the director of domestic policy; Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff; and Ricardo Rodriguez, the President’s education advisor, and they asked me what I thought of Common Core. I urged them to field test it. I suggested that they invite 3-5 states to give it a trial of three to five years. See how it works. See if it narrows the achievement gap or widens the achievement gap. They quickly dismissed the idea. They were in a hurry. They wanted Common Core to be rolled out as quickly as possible, without checking out how it works in real classrooms with real teachers and real children.”
“We are #1 among the rich nations of the world in child poverty; nearly one-quarter of our children live in poverty. Our kids who live in affluent communities do very well indeed on the international tests. If we reduced the proportion of children living in poverty, our international test scores would go up.”
“…Stroup came to believe that the biggest portion of the test scores that hardly changed—that 72 percent—simply measured test-taking ability. For almost $100 million a year, Texas taxpayers were sold these tests as a gauge of whether schools are doing a good job.”
“A simple maxim: don’t expose and don’t look for passions; just listen and make good suggestions”
“I have found over the years that things that make me angry give me a passion to fix them.”
“… They should be passionate about getting a job someday.”
— Roger Schank
See also: “Forget Following Your Heart – Follow Your Heartbreak”
See also: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2014/08/turning-passion-on-its-head.html
Old news, right? And perhaps mostly useless because it’s not going to convince someone to study or work in engineering (for example) if they aren’t interested.
1. Data should be adjusted for things like stress and hours worked per week/year as some majors/careers are going to be much better in this respect.
2. Unemployment is also higher in many of the lowing paying majors/careers. Also, how about avg years worked and ageism by career sector? 50 years old software engineers vs 50 year old teachers.
3. Info should also be adjusted for pensions. Working for 20-30 years and retiring (or working at a new job) with a pension is rather nice.
1 in 2 new college graduates are jobless or underemployed (2013)
Since we (as in… the world) is going to be in an ongoing struggle between globalization and re-localization for the foreseeable future, along with it’s impact on the education of our kids and ourselves, here are a few more links on the topic of woodworking with kids that I started back here. Nothing compares to the thrill my kids get of doing real things with their bodies — skiing, cooking, gardening, sawing logs, etc. (Except Minecraft. And Wild Kratts. And… well, you see the issue.)
So here we go.
– Kindergrarten Shop Class – NYTimes.com
Mar 30, 2011 – Teaching children construction is gaining momentum across the country as a way to develop imagination and confidence
– If you’re in the Boston area, Wood is Good occasionally offers classes for kids.
– And The Eliot School, Boston MA offers endless courses for kids including “Very Beginning Woodworking – age 4-6”
– In NC, go to “summer camp” with a 5-day workshop from Roy Underhill. Here’s an example
MORE FROM 2014
– Shop Class integral part of this private school for boys
– A great 10 minute video about…
The Blue Ox Mill and Community High School, Eureka CA
A custom mill and woodworking classes for kids and veterans
Filed under alternative education, education, globalization, green, health, homeschooling, homesteading, kids -- freedom and responsibility, local, makerspace, mentoring / apprenticeship, minecraft, Sudbury Schools and Sudbury Valley School, unschooling, video games, woodworking / shop class