By Jal Mehta and Sarah Fine
The writers spent six years traveling the country studying high schools.
March 30, 2019
“When you ask American teenagers to pick a single word to describe how they feel in school, the most common choice is “bored.” The institutions where they spend many of their waking hours, they’ll tell you, are lacking in rigor, relevance, or both.
They aren’t wrong. Studies of American public schools from 1890 to the present suggest that most classrooms lack intellectual challenge. A 2015 Gallup Poll of nearly a million United States students revealed that while 75 percent of fifth-grade students feel engaged by school, only 32 percent of 11th graders feel similarly.
What would it take to transform high schools into more humanizing and intellectually vital places? The answer is right in front of us, if only we knew where to look.
When the two of us — a sociologist and a former English teacher — began our own investigation of this question several years ago, we made two assumptions. Both turned out to be wrong.”
“SANTA FE, N.M. — Have I got a college for you. For your first two years, your regimen includes ancient Greek. And I do mean Greek, the language, not Greece, the civilization, though you’ll also hang with Aristotle, Aeschylus, Thucydides and the rest of the gang. There’s no choice in the matter. There’s little choice, period.
Let your collegiate peers elsewhere design their own majors and frolic with Kerouac. For you it’s Kant. You have no major, only “the program,” an exploration of the Western canon that was implemented in 1937 and has barely changed.
It’s intense. Learning astronomy and math, you don’t merely encounter Copernicus’s conclusions. You pore over his actual words. You’re not simply introduced to the theory of relativity. You read “Relativity,” the book that Albert Einstein wrote.”
David Lindsay: Bravo Bruni.
Great piece and comments too. Here is one of many good comments:
NDONGA, Central African Republic — This remote village doesn’t have an official school, and there’s no functioning government to build one. So the villagers, desperate to improve their children’s lives, used branches and leaves to construct their own dirt-floor schoolhouse.
It has no electricity, windows or desks, and it doesn’t keep out rain or beetles, but it does imbue hope, discipline and dreams. The 90 pupils sitting on bamboo benches could tutor world leaders about the importance of education — even if the kids struggle with the most basic challenges.
“It’s hard to learn without a paper or pen,” Bertrand Golbé, a parent who turned himself into a teacher, acknowledged with a laugh. “But this is the way we have to do it.
“They never have had breakfast when they arrive,” Golbé added. “They’re hungry. It’s difficult.”
via Opinion | These Kids Could Tutor World Leaders – The New York Times
David Lindsay: Lovely op-ed by Nicholas Kristof, but it was short on numbers refered to by not shared.
“And in South Sudan, a girl is more likely to die in childbirth than to graduate from high school.
Education is also a bargain: By my back-of-envelope calculations, for about one-half of 1 percent of global military spending, the world could vanquish illiteracy forever by ensuring that every child completes primary school.”
I wonder why he excludes the numbers. He was over his word count, or thinks we would be burdened?
The numbers matter. It is too bad they are left out.
That said, his thesis right. We should support and help pay for elementary education in the third world, because it its good for humanity and the evironment, and slowing out of control population growth.
David Lindsay Jr. is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNewsWorldwide.wordpress.com