Monday, August 18, 2014

Classic? What's That?

"Then Jason lighted the pile, and burnt the carcass of the bull; and they went to their ship and sailed eastward, like men who have a work to do; and the place from which they went was called Aphetai, the sailing-place, from that day forth. Three thousand years ago an more they sailed away, into the unknown Eastern seas; and great nations have come and gone since then and many a storm has swept the earth; and many a mighty armament, to which Argo would be but one small boat, have sailed those waters since; yet the fame of that small Argo lives forever, and her name is become a proverb among men."

Do you know a single college graduate who could read and understand that paragraph. Probably not, or at least not very likely. Yet it was an assignment for eighth graders (some say sixth graders) in 1914. (For those of you educated in government schools, that was 100 years ago.)

Now I am not at all concerned whether this particular story should be taught today (although I certainly think it has philosophical merit and might be considered). My concern is that most Americans today could not read the words coherently and certainly could not make heads or tails out of what it was talking about.

In government schools today, if it WERE taught, the aim would not be to discern the meaning of the passage. The aim would be to have the student tell how he/she FEELS about the paragraph. To today's progressive "educators" nothing trumps feeling. Literature is not about meaning, it is about feeling. History is not about what happened, it is about how one feels about what happened (or didn't, for that matter). Arithmetic and Mathematics is not about solving problems, it is about using "friendly" processes, whether or not the actual solution is found. Even science is not about observation, experimentation and repeatability, it is about bending the science to fit one's own agenda, more specifically the current political agenda.

To progressives, education in Miami has become part and parcel of education in Seattle. What is taught in San Bernadino must be identical to what is taught in Bangor. Educators must walk in lock-step, all teaching the same things exactly alike to the same end(s). That is the folly of nationwide standardized testing. That is the goal of Common Core. It is so stated in its instructions.

So we go merrily on our way, believing that we are progressing when we are really digressing. We think we are "catching up" to the rest of the world, when we are actually falling further behind. We no longer allow teachers (and certainly not students) to learn the basics of math, history, reading and science and apply them to their own imaginations to come up with ideas and methods to benefit humanity.

So what are we to do? 

The answer is: there is nothing we can do. We (the state and progressive educators) have bought a bill of goods lock, stock and barrel. We shall continue to raise a nation of progressively sorry students until we are to dumb as a nation for self-sustainment.

Note: If you cannot read the above, just watch this:


Duckys here said...

Do you know a single college graduate who could read and understand that paragraph.

My eldest niece is an English major with a concentration in Medieval lit.

I doubt she;d have any trouble whatsoever.

Another is going for her Ph.D. in Public Administration at Brandeis and could handle it.

They grow 'em dumb in Florida or something?

Duckys here said...

... oh, by the way, Joe, Common Core is a sop to the testing industry.

Just part of the privatization of our school system.

If you have been paying attention, Arnie Duncan is square behind the testing and privatization movement that you Teabags have been screaming for so don't complain.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts public school achievement is quite good. And we're liberal, imagine that.

Duckys here said...
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Duckys here said...

Food for thought Joe

I snapped this one on the Orange line the other day.

She could be high school age.

Joe said...

Ducky: "English major with a concentration in Medieval lit."

Yes, but is she single?

"...Ph.D. in Public Administration at Brandeis and could handle it."

Doubt it.