Blogging On History, Science, and Education
May 19, 2016
"When students and school boards ask, 'Why history? What are we supposed to be getting out of this?' The best answer is still that one word: judgment. We demand it of all professionals: doctors, lawyers, chefs, and quarterbacks. And we need it most in the profession of citizen, which, like it or not, exercise it for not, we are all born into."
That quote is from Paul Gagnon, a history professor at UMass (who died in 2005). His words are increasingly relevant, especially in this country, as we become increasingly diverse. Paul and I talked of writing a world history together. I was to do the ancient world, he would begin with the Renaissance. Wish it could have happened. Paul's memory is honored in a history prize given by the NCHE. As for my take on why history? It makes you think and gives you something to think about.
February 8, 2015
Front page headline in the Sunday Denver Post on Feb 8 says: "State Educators May Lower bar: New graduation guidelines could mean axing science and social studies." The story: two yeas ago Colorado's education leaders instituted a new set of graduation requirements for Colorado students. Things haven't working out. The Post says, "Bottom line: If approved by the Board of Education this spring, graduating from high school in Colorado will be easier than [it was] two years ago." Forty years ago, when Denver had a bigger school population than it has today, the school administration headquarters was an open-to-the-public two story building. Now it's a nine story bastion, mostly closed to teachers and citizens. While we bash teachers and their unions, it's the growing education bureaucracy, not the majority of our teachers or our children, who seem to have been failing us.
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