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Is it time to challenge this idea of "students taking control of their own education"

Posted By: Frank T Manheim on March 9, 2018
Since the 1960s progressives have arrayed themselves against the rigidities of "traditional educational models", against rote learning and memorization. They have championed "student-centered" education, learning to think and challenge ideas rather than being told what to think. They pose the ideal of education as recognizing the individuality of each child and differences in their preferred modes of learning.

At one level all these things sound attractive, and can be stimulating if employed judiciously. But when, as seems to have happened, these ideas replace more formal learning approaches many evidences indicate that the result has been a disaster for the United States. The Annenberg Policy Center poll in 2016 revealed that only one of four Americans can name the three branches of the Federal Government. Thirty-six percent could not name even one - e.g. Congress. What kind of politicians will citizens with no understanding of government and history choose?

Of course it takes memorization to learn about government and history. The Founders regarded history as the single most important field of knowledge for citizenship and statesmanship. Without knowing the past we have only chaos - no ability to guide future action. Without proper training in mathematics and science citizens will be crippled in managing their lives and health intelligently. Without facility in reading adults are inhibited from acquiring information and understanding the world around them. Without exposure to the great thoughts of the past we may be stuck with trivial or even degrading thoughts of the present.

Finally - a chllling thought. What if the insistence on individualistic education played a role in creating today's fragmented society, polarization, and frequent resort to violence?

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 Is it time to challenge this idea of "students taking control of their own education" by Frank T Manheim on March 9, 2018
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