A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thinking About Education – Initial Impressions of Robert Logan's "The Sixth Language" (2000)'

Education has been on everyone's mind lately, especially in lieu of unionized teachers in Wisconsin having to "justify" their "immense" pensions and wealth-killing benefits, like health care and the right to see an optometrist or dentist once a year. I believe teachers should be held accountable to standards of efficiency, but the way they are being demonized leads me to believe that the powers that be are drawing focus from the real problem: namely that we don't want to recognize that our models might be out of whack. In other words, what if what used to be taught, pre-Internet era, is not good enough anymore?

To be fair school districts are making some changes with respect to the Internet and technology. High schools and even grade schools are now using new online-based courses that have been adopted from online university programs
and distance learning courses. This teaching format utilizes the web and tools like social media, but online k-12 classes have significant drawbacks. In general, it is simply taking the same school models, curriculums and criteria from the classroom to the online setting. It is more of a cost-cutting facelift than a true reform of the education model.

It is no coincidence Robert Logan's book starts with a section titled, "Why Our Schools Don't Work." In this section, Logan presents his main argument while highlighting the failures inherent in the history of our public education system, "Our schools are based on an industrial model, with a delivery system patterned on the factory. Millions of schoolchildren are taught the same content in the same linear sequential order, guided by a uniform curriculum dated by a centralized bureaucracy at a municipal school board or state department of education." (8) While broken, the system does work for a select few, "Many students endure. Doctors, engineers, lawyers, and accountants continue to be trained. The success of our schools is limted, however" (8).

Our schools have not kept up with the body of knowledge that needs to get know, "it is not so much that the content of the curriculum is out of date as that the style of education is not suited to contemporary needs and challenges." (9)

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