Boards of Education, Principles and students
No one can argue effectively against kids needing to know a bit about who discovered the US, [and who was here first], and how all that came about.
Further, few can argue that kids need to know about counting–addition, subtraction, etc. Kids need to know the basics behind science. It is also essential that kids learn the basics of writing. We all have to communicate with each other!
Because too many kids get fat way before adulthood, it makes sense too that kids learn about physical exercise and, as applicable, sports.
Your author has been a full and part-time teacher for over 44 years. He has taught or lectured from grades 1 through 20. While most of the boards of education and principles under whom he worked had good intentions, their aggregate accomplishments did and still do, leave MUCH undone. With their resources and mandates, they have graduated both mediocre and good quality students. Interviews with students shows the information provided "to be memorized-learned" was often useless to the student and data that was needed was not taught.
While there is a PTA in every community with a school, it is sad that there is no medium or process wherein the intended recipient of services [read that
student] has input into what they may learn. While it is true that there are things called ELECTIVES, after a student has taken or is scheduled for MANDATORY classes, no one has yet created a delivery tool that says ‘students, today, I am going to prove to you that this data you are going to learn will be valuable to you when you go home–you will find an immediate benefit to learning this information. NOT one time! While it is true that a student can conduct experiments using the newly learned data, no teacher has ever conducted
a class with the focus being ‘this data will make your family or yourself more successful tonight. YOU will gain in this specific way when you do this or these things to apply what you learned today. This is not the same thing as being able to write a sentence or do some math. Those are ‘rote behaviors.’ Mechanical learning. He can now add 6 + 6 and get 12. However, he did not want that skill today. Or he already knew how to do that. He waits for data on how to get his first car without using the family money. He waits for data on how to get Sue to go out with him. He waits for data on how to keep Roger from getting into his face. He waits for data relevant to him. The school board is not interested in listening to this. The school board is mandated with putting out "educated kids–" educated according to what the state and federal government claim the kids must
know by a certain age.
In most states, kids never learn in school about keeping a car running, keeping Sue happy, keeping the landlord happy. Keeping mom or dad or both in their jobs.
Kids are forced to learn things that, at their age, they are not able to put to use.
Those kids who have strong families receive guilt messages from their families sufficient so that the kids "stay the course" in school.
Those who have no families often drop out of school when schools have dropped them from areas of interest. Sad carousel.
The kids have to go to school to learn things rarely of interest to them! Your author went to those same schools. He had to go to college 3 years after high school was over to begin learning those things that HS had forced on him but now he had an interest in most of them–now that he was ready within his life –to pay attention to those facts of data.
It’s odd that not until a kid goes to college [if he chooses that route] does anyone ask him/her "what do you want to major in?" Huh, a Major? I go from being asked nothing about what I want for 12 yrs of school and now, it is choice-ville? Wow. What an adjustment!
Yes, even HS had advanced placement calculus. Big deal made of that. Even a movie made with that focus. Ask those kids later in college how the calculus class helped them in college. Or in their occupation. I bet fewer than 10% will say it helped them OTHER than provided a motivation and a queer kind of focus.