professornana (professornana) wrote,

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hurry up, kid, you're wasting time

An article and Facebo posting drew my attention to this story: Now, 8th graders will be forced to select a "track" for their high school studies. Here are the choices: "There’s STEM, which stands for science, technology engineering and math; business and industry; public service; arts and humanities and a category with mostly advanced courses called multidisciplinary studies."

Now I am a seasoned professional when it comes to filling out high school course selections. I did it in the 80 for my daughter and then again in the new millennium for the former residents of the back bedroom. Each time I would caution the kids not to box themselves in too much. At 13 and 14, why in the world should kids be forced to be limited by a track? Proponents (the article includes one) say it will reduce drop out as kids will be part of a community in 9th grade. Really? A STEM community or a humanities community? And why these divisions? Public service (and what is THAT exactly?) is separate from any science or arts or humanities or business course? STEM can simply take those courses and ignore anything from the fine arts or industry?

So, let's review education. We begin in Kindergarten (a recent article about cutting out the show for kindergartners in favor of college and career readiness) with benchmarking and testing. We proceed through K-8 with more testing and more test prep and more benchmarking. Then, pick you career, kiddos. High school is more of the same: testing, benchmarking, etc.

If I were given to dystopic scenarios, I would foresee a not-too-distant future when kids sit in cubicles with tablets and headphones doing preprogrammed on screen worksheets while the teacher circulates to make sure everyone is on task and on the right worksheet for the time period. Lunch is served in the cubicle so as not to waste time away from studies. Their "community" consists of their cubicles. Their connection to humans happens at home (unless, n=by then, we have tablets and worksheets there as well). Stepford schools=Stepford students. Scary.
Tags: danger, pushing kids
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