March 27, 2006

Paging Charlotte Mason. Miss Mason to the front desk, please...

Yesterday's New York Times reports that
Thousands of schools across the nation are responding to the reading and math testing requirements laid out in No Child Left Behind, President Bush's signature education law, by reducing class time spent on other subjects and, for some low-proficiency students, eliminating it.
Which means that the educrats have twisted already twisted enough legislation to wring any possible joy or educational benefit from the curriculum. Now, don't get me wrong. I tend to think that kids, especially in the early years, need a solid foundation in reading and math. But I don't think that spending hour after boring hour on math and reading will help any child learn math and reading, let alone to love math and reading, especially if that time is spent in the later years rather than in, say, Kindergarten or first grade.
At Martin Luther King Jr. Junior High School in Sacramento, about 150 of the school's 885 students spend five of their six class periods on math, reading and gym, leaving only one 55-minute period for all other subjects.

About 125 of the school's lowest-performing students are barred from taking anything except math, reading and gym...
Maybe, just maybe, if the schools considered reading and math so important in the early years, through about fourth grade, then maybe the poor junior high school students wouldn't have to be forcefed, like miserable geese, a diet of little more than reading and math.
"Only two subjects? What a sadness," said Thomas Sobol, an education professor at Columbia Teachers College and a former New York State education commissioner. "That's like a violin student who's only permitted to play scales, nothing else, day after day, scales, scales, scales. They'd lose their zest for music."
And if you don't believe him, what about this poor eighth grader?
"I hate having two math classes in a row," Paris said. "Two hours of math is too much. I can't concentrate that long."
And both classes are, argh, back to back.

If Miss Mason is busy, maybe Marva Collins can have her way...

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