Thursday, June 13, 2013

Diversity vs. Uniformity of thought, and is there really any such thing as a Common Core? 

Overhearing someone talk about wishing they enjoyed a certain book, but reading it despite finding it terribly dull, gave rise to pondering what is to be gained from doing that when there are more books than a person can read in a lifetime, to choose from, and surely from that large set, something enlightening to the individual, could be chosen instead? Life's too short to spend time reading things you gain nothing from but bragging rights (and the shame of knowing that the time spent in doing so, would have been better spent doing almost anything else).

That's what I dislike about the whole philosophy of an arbitrary set of songs and stories that 'must' be read for a child to be considered educated, and that is my chief objection to the entire philosophy behind the books titled "What Your X-Grader Needs To Know".

It presumes that in a nearly limitless set of possibilities, the particular choices of one person, bear more weight, than the differing choices of anyone else. It also presumes that every child needs to learn the same songs, the same fables, the same cultural stories, to be educated, and that is provincial at best. 'Uniformity Uber Alles' is not a paradigm for brilliance. 

I counter that it is actually more important that we have diversity in upbringing and education, than uniformity. Since no one can cover the whole body of human learning, unless their learning is as wide as it is shallow, attempting to grow a monoculture of such shallow-rooted, short-clipped grass, (to use a metaphor) based on one master scheme for what makes every child well-educated, is bound only to produce widespread equal mediocrity, if it were to succeed. 

I would rather encourage my child to be (if this were her passion), the very best underwater basket-weaver there is (and only those following their passion ever become the great masters of it), rather than live in unhappy mediocrity, following someone else's blueprint. 


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