Thursday, July 17, 2014
Program Note: We’re going on vacation next week, so the blog will spend some time in the sun. It’ll be back on Monday, July 28. See you then!
I'd attribute part of what you describe as reflecting changes in K-12 in the last decade or so. Essays on the HS exit exam tend to be reactive rather than arguing from data, and there seems to be little emphasis on careful "critical" reading. Skimming seems to be pushed hard as a test-taking skill. The latter creates a challenge in problem-solving classes like chemistry and physics because they have not learned to read every word, let alone turn those words into symbols in a math class that emphasizes word problems.
Apparently this has not gone unnoticed, because we were told that one new feature of the Common Core was to bring fact-based logical argument back into the curriculum.
And a lot of the 'creative' work isn't, really. All the kids need to do to be 'creative' is come up with something their teacher hasn't seen before — which with the internet isn't that difficult.
Yes, most of those creations will be terrible, but a civilization with ninety-nine failures for every success is a civilization that's progressing at a remarkable rate.
I'm posting to see if you noticed the kerfluffle about a "nothing special" private non-profit college in Iowa trimming some non-yet-tenured faculty who spoke out on the college's plans thinking academic freedom applied to at-will employees. Maybe you should write a column about what your college does about mentoring new faculty.
There's something about reliably paying your mortgage that just makes your adult life that much more pleasant.