Wednesday, October 02, 2013
...and The Rest...
Yes to the Skipper, and yes to Gilligan. But let’s not forget The Professor and Mary Ann. If colleges are going to teach them too, let’s devote some attention to seeing that we teach them well. It’s the second season; let’s include them in the credits.
It is possible for a subject to be well-taught and well-learned without lots of people running around wringing their hands over a crisis. I'm far from convinced that all the "We need more people in STEM! We need more people in STEM! The Russians and Chinese will beat us!" rhetoric has actually been a net benefit to the teaching of STEM. If anything, the crisis rhetoric has driven fads and prevented a hard look at actual workforce needs (some of which are more on the vocational side where CCs run circles around 4-years).
I know dressage looks crazy-Wasp, la-di-dah, fancy schmancy, hoity-toity, elitist, and all the rest. We're Americans, dammit, and good Americans ride with cowboy saddles cowboy style!
Truth is, though, cowboy saddles are truly stupid except for the most limited and narrow purposes. Cowboy riding barely scratches the surface of what a horse and rider can do. Dressage training, however esoteric the product appears to the uninitiated, is intense, difficult, a constant interplay and communication between two bodies and two minds.
You don't have to be Ann Romney to do dressage. You and your horse will be all the happier for learning just a few basics of the art.
Not to be sniffed at!
There are a few notable exceptions, however. The New Life Math project, Carnegie's Statway (etc), the Dana Center's work all focus on "what" as well as "how fast".
What would improve things in my opinion would be better journalism and a return to the time that networks were required to be fair and unbiased in their news reporting. Honestly, if all you do is watch FOX news, you're going to have a certain predictable world view. The same would happen on a steady diet of Jon Stewart or Steven Colbert. What people need is good information in the environment in which they live - untainted by moneyed influence. Part of the problem now is that we don't even agree on what's real (climate change, evolution, the effects of the sequester, the cost of a government shutdown etc.)