In a way, yes. In a way, no. We are not even preparing our young people for useful, fulfilling vocations these days. Both well-rounded educational training and vocational training have suffered. The "skill" that has suffered the most, that is the most over-looked in either educational environment is the skill of critical thinking. More than anything, we need to teach people how to think for themselves, how to problem-solve, how to pursue knowledge for a lifetime. And we need to instill a thirst for knowledge. That most valuable skill does not appear anywhere in current educational reform rhetoric.
"...given the tools to move on in measured steps..." what a profoundly insightful declaration. You have summed it up perfectly. Whatever tools the individual needs to move forward one step at a time toward their individual best...that is key.
cindraleehenry commented on a link
Thank you, Bill Ayers, for putting into clear, logical, and compelling words what many of us have been feeling. Thank you.
We have created a monster. Magnet schools. Charter schools. Private schools. Parochial and faith-based schools. Where have our neighborhood public schools gone, what has happened to them? The public school system was once something we could be proud of, a cornerstone of democracy that leveled the playing field and provided opportunity for the enrichment and education of all children. Now, we act like our public schools are only for children who are not fortunate enough to attend school elsewhere.
Here in Southern California families that aspire to the American Dream, who care about providing a good foundation for their children, do everything in their power to work hard enough to send their children to "good" schools rather than public schools, often driving vast distances to take and retrieve their children from schools nowhere near their neighborhood.
What a change since I grew up in the 50's and 60's where everyone went to public school and we felt sad for the kids in private or parochial schools because they missed out on so much. And what a huge difference there is now in what schools provide for our children. Long gone are the enrichment programs that my generation enjoyed. Band, orchestra, choir, drama, art, sports, and all the clubs. Now, if a child wants to participate in these things the parents must be able to afford to pay for it, whether it's buying sports equipment, art equipment, musical instruments. And that's assuming there is even an instructor available to run the program...often there isn't.
Of course, we have various funded programs (quite separate from the school curriculum) available for disadvantaged children. There are some wonderful programs...but of course they are dependent on the continuation of the funding sources. If the funding source goes away, so does the program.
But enough of my ranting. William Ayers has said it more effectively. Please pass this plea along...perhaps it will make a difference.
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