Good Education

By Ronald Wolk

..everything I read and hear suggests that the curriculum is narrowing in order to meet the demands of standardized testing and standards-based accountability.

We can't seem to get it through our heads that it is impossible to stuff into the heads of our kids all the accumulated knowledge of mankind. And one can be educated without having read Shakespeare or taken Algebra 2.

Education is, unfortunately, mainly about mastering and memorizing an infinite number of inert facts—like the names of generals, the dates of battles, the table of elements, etc. That has never made much sense and it makes less sense when a kid can go onto the Internet and find the facts he or she needs when they need them.

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Education should be about stimulating curiosity, learning how to gather, assess, and use knowledge, understanding and appreciating the world one lives in, and develop a sense of values. It should be about developing habits of mind and behavior that make one a lifelong learner, productive worker, good citizen, and fulfilled individual.

That is the context in which we should look at curriculum, standards, assessments, and the practices of schooling.

Ronald A. Wolk: Education Week

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