(The Possible Answers)
~ ITEM: 1912 Eighth Grade Examination for Bullitt County Schools
~ VIA THE INTERNETS, this 1912 test made the rounds a while back. It’s a very interesting document, and mostly predates the scariest of edumacational machinations and manipulations of the 20th century, and the plague of experts infesting society ever since.
If the test were updated to 2014, and the proper teaching and content were given, we could all pass this. Ay, there’s the rub.
After all, modern teaching propaganda is fact-lite and method-heavy, the infamous “We don’t teach kids WHAT to think, but HOW to think.” Which makes as much sense as saying “We don’t teach kids what a bike is, but how to ride properly.” It’s a false either/ or that avoids the issue. Mills need grist. Brains need facts, and suitable learning strategies for each step in human growth.
Bzz Bzzzz Bz
The false dichotomy of learning versus facts (amongst many other ills) is why despite all the piles of money, at far too many colleges and post-secondary institutions in 2014, the first year is partly remedial math, reading, spelling, and wording more gooder. I.E., too many kids have learned neither how to think, or what to think about, but have been thoroughly propagandized (and rendered numb and cynical about) about recycling, global warming, sodomy, bully-free zones, the evils of non-liberalism and Christianity, the amazingness of progressive political leaders, and other quite tertiary matters. They have the radical critique, but are not allowed to learn what’s being critiqued, why, and whether it’s fair, or true, or balanced, or not.
The product? Busy little worker drones, buzzing away at whatever, most young skulls filled with undigested mush.
Neither Fish, Nor Fowl
It’s not a classical, or a old-style liberal education (pre- & early 20th century). I once had a gander at the She-Binks’ Grandmother’s old Grade 9 text-book, from a similar time as the document above (she lived unto 105). It was full of high-school-level maths, literature, spelling, Shakespeare, history, Latin, poetry, geography, anatomy, basic sciences, and many other subjects. It really did shock me, compared to my then-recent High School education, which was still better than what most students receive in 2014. Not as good as 1912 Grade 9.
In Nova Scotia, it is possible to graduate Grade 12 with honours without having taken (as in my day) 6+ years of history, covering ancient, medieval, early modern & modern, and Canadian history. That is, knowing nearly nothing about your place, time, origins, how we got here, and who fought for what, and where freedom came from, and what the Pyramids are, and the Cathedral at Chartres…. well, most of history.
In the olden curricula, you were more educated by grade 9 than most kids are by grade 12, and proud of your accomplishment, and skilled at many things, and given the basics of civilized truth, reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmatic, and much else besides. It was mentally, and even socially elevating, and aspiration united to education could literally mean the child of poor unlettered parents might go to college, or learn a new trade or career, and rise socially in the world.
What do we see? White or immigrant kids taking Afro-Canadian history and literature, while remaining ignorant of their heritages. Grade 12 calculus aced by people who have trouble spelling, or can’t tell you any meaning to 1066 or Magna Carta or World War 2. Well, second things first, I guess. The modern educational baby-sitting of teens from 15-18 is literally a waste of time, and could be used for college, apprenticeships, and practical training (as was true in of England in Tudor times).
The squishiness of most modern approaches also teaches kids that learning is boring; that facts don’t matter; that all Left-wing political truths are good and true, and that there’s no such thing as a moral life aside from recycling properly, drinking politically correct coffee, and being decent to your friends. FAIL.
More and more, smart & curious kids must discover great books, learn great art, architecture, poetry, drama, history– and all the amazing and terrible and interesting things people have ever done– outside our educational system, which almost seems to exist for the good of teacher’s unions, curriculum spinners, utopian social engineers, and worker-drone making. We are making an idiocracy.
Here endeth the rant. Now, you kids get off my lawn. ~