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Schools, in Texas and elsewhere

January 22, 2014

I was fortunate to attend schools — in Texas — in a way that let me take calculus at 16 and differential equations at 17. And so sympathize with the notion that our schools often fail to feed students who shine in certain subjects.

If I was able to study some good math and science young, much of my primary and secondary education in history was the warmed-over corpse of the Lost Cause, stirred with evangelical religion. So I sympathize also with the students in the Responsive Education Solutions charter schools in Texas, where two generations later they still are teaching religious and political mush, not just in history, but also in biology. Let’s hear it for the Lost Cause, now with lipstick.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Laura permalink
    January 22, 2014 9:59 am

    I have so many opinions about this subject, I don’t know where to start. But perhaps starting at definitions would be a good thing. What does it mean to be “gifted”?

    Today’s schools “classify” students so they can give a group of students what they supposedly need and a different group something else they may need. So schools embark in assessing which kids are “gifted” so they can offer them “special for gifted-only classes”, some of which may be calculus. This is a terrible thing in my opinion. For once, it suggests to kids that they need some “innate superior skills” to learn math and science, which is not the case. And it prevents kids who may be talented in math and science from taking the classes because they fail the assessment, which is clearly not perfect.

    Classes of all levels should be available to everyone and only those who are most interested will take them and stick with them.

    Remember that the educational system in the US is built around the employees, not the students. And since students don’t have a voice, this will never change.

    • rturpin permalink*
      January 22, 2014 12:34 pm

      Unfortunately, if it’s built on making employees, it’s built on what employers want from that. My view is that high school should include a mandatory course on how business works — really works, not the typical sunshine myth — and on personal finance.

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