[LMB] [LMB]OT: Education

James and Mary Burbidge jamesandmary.burbidge at sympatico.ca
Thu, 31 Jan 2002 20:15:22 -0500

JoatSimeon at aol.com wrote:
> In a message dated 1/30/02 7:39:36 PM Mountain Standard Time, WaWenri at aol.com
> writes:
> > I do not want to go back to the 1900 curriculum.
> -- some aspects of it were simply superior to what we have now; English
> composition, for example.
> If you graduated from high school in 1900, or 1940 for that matter, you could
> write good English on any subject, and read any piece of prose and analyze
> it.

In flawless handwriting, too, at least usually.

> The main reason for the "dumbing down" has been antinomianism -- a reluctance
> to call anyone a failure, or to require hard work with penalties for
> slacking.

That's been a large part of it.

I would say that another large part is an anti-intellectual attitude
which involves active distrust or dislike (at least as a class) of the
1% or so of the population who are those who would have graduated from
high school a century ago.  You can see it in the avoidance of
"streaming", or the lumping of "bright" and "slow" students together as
"special education", and then starving the bright ones of the special
education funds because the slow ones need it more.  (The enriched
program I was in in the 1970's seems to have lasted about 5 years (my
brother- and sister-in-law, twins, were in the first year of it and I
was in the last year of it) before it was cancelled, and even it didn't
really take the job of educating a class of really bright children
seriously.  There was no equivalent in high school, except in English,
and the enriched English was definitely inferior to the curriculum in my
parents' and grandparents' day.)  Not only has there been a push to
"dumb down" the curriculum to avoid pass/fail issues; there's been a
tendency to dispose of anything the average children couldn't handle
fairly easily.  After all, it is said, the bright kids can take care of

James Burbidge			jamesandmary.burbidge at sympatico.ca