Monday, December 14, 2009

"Compulsory" education.

Consider the idiom;

You can lead a horse to water,
but you can't make him drink.
and its corollary
You can drag a kid to school,
but you can't make him learn.
While attendance can be made compulsory, learning cannot.

There is no such thing as a disengaged learner.
The concept is oxymoronic.

NM-Leftnright, link, points to a misguided plan to deny learner permits to children who are perpetual truants. They report the following;
Santa Fe - The Public Education Department hears testimony on a proposed rule that would make good grades and school attendance a pre-requisite for granting teens a driver's permit.

Education Secretary Veronica Garcia says the idea is to ensure kids take school seriously and to get them in the habit of attending regularly by 9th grade so they're less likely to drop out.

It is difficult to believe that anyone with any teaching experience can come to the conclusion that if you drag a kid to school enough times, s/he will "get in the habit of attending regularly".

What do these folks suppose happens when the recalcitrant is dragged kicking and screaming to school? Does anyone really suppose that they settle down and get to work?

News flash; they don't.

For the most, they disrupt the education of 29 other kids for the rest of the day.

The same folks who would advocate dragging kids to school against their will, will argue;
They can't learn if they aren't in school.
There is a kernel of truth there, though it disregards completely the out of school learning opportunities. Not the least of which is on-line learning.

But for the most, the argument is specious.
It presumes that if a kid is in school, s/he will learn.

There are a number of ways to address the issue of truancy.
The least effective, most costly, and most difficult to implement,
is dragging kids to school against their will.

It would appear that one of the greatest problems in education today, is the lack of sensible leadership.

Photo Mark Bralley

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