Book Trailer The Noble Train

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Our Sputnik Children

You can feel the desperation in American Education now. Tenure is under attack by the states. Pensions are getting busted. Nobody has the money to fund them and all those people skating along under the education umbrella are in danger of getting rained on with the rest of us. The teachers figured they would never fear the pain of the recession and now the clouds are gathering. You think of this as you talk to teachers about your kid and realize how little teaching goes on and how the ability to get a grade now passes for education. Robotic kids able to follow specific directions flourish while children who take time to think drown in the sorrow of failure. And America is behind the rest of the world.

Ramp up math and science. Then we will beat the Chinese. Forget about the ability to speak or think, lets be more linear. Engineers will certainly save American Education. Much the same for the Sputnick generation as that tin cat slingshots around the earth beep beeping way. We will bury you. We will bury you. We will bury you. The Chinese surround us with their low level hum, we own you we own we own you. Teachers put into overdrive to catch up. The kids must meet a higher standard. Download more lessons. Fill more time with more work with more computer time with more Blackboard.

But America never won the day by following rules. How did we win? As Steven Ambrose pointed out in Citizen Solider we won because the individual soldier, the grunt was given permission, nay, he was taught at a very early age to think for himself. To improvise, to create on the spot. So when he came up against his German counter part on the beaches of Normandy the soldier, the citizen solider figured out a way to get himself and his platoon off the beach. And that was good because the Germans waited for orders. They waited for someone who was hell on wheels in science and math to give them exact coordinates while a GI snuck up with a a flamethrower and incinerated their pillbox.

So out Sputnik children are on the line once again. At a booster event for the baseball team I brought up the movie Race to the Bottom to a man whose kids are on military footing in school and athletics. Outstanding achievers. Race to the Bottom is a  documentary that catalogs the stress kids are under now to achieve and how suicide and depression is on the rise among high school students. The man waved the movie away and scoffed. They don't like it then they should drop out he muttered. Wimps.
Rocket Man wil blast off in March

Books by William Hazelgrove