This was dug up from the comment section in a recent Colossus of Rhody post regarding great education movies.

“Sometimes these movies make it seem like the right teacher can inspire even the most reluctant of students, but in nearly every case, the teachers just got rid of the students that weren’t being inspired. Apparently, the moral is that many children must be left behind.

Posted by Ivan Wolfe at January 6, 2007 11:39 PM


Has this nation, bent on the noble intention of educating everyone, lost its innate ability to educate anyone?

It has.

This nation should shift its focus from whether “any child is left behind”, and go one step further and guarantee that all children, are endowed with the inalienable right to be educated to their own full potential.

Briefly stated, the educational focus needs to change from holding a class back until the “dumbest” finally “get it”, to pushing each member of a class forward to the best of their own abilities, whatever they may be. In doing so, not only are we educating each student to comprehend those basics needed by society, but we are also able to challenge and groom the brightest minds, on whose talents our future will depend.

Education has not caught up with a significant change in our brain development. Due to breast feeding, early development toys and tools, and educational programing, the child entering our educational stream is far more developed than what our educational system presupposes. The first year of instruction at age 5 in kindergarten covers what most kids know by age 2, simply from watching Sesame Street, Nickelodeon Jr, or assorted special videos purchased by their parents. The second year of instruction covers the same material. It is necessary review, the bureaucrats tell us.

Think for a moment. Have you ever seen a five year old who doesn’t want to learn. No, they are bubbling full of questions covering every topic. Next compare that with a room full of high school seniors, slumped in their chairs, staring at the ceiling, who are there only because they are forced to be. Somewhere in between we, as a society, lost them.

As we banter back and forth over the security issues that flash across our screens and news-wires today, we spend relatively little emotional energy to the most pressing problem facing this country’s future.

And that is our country’s corner on the market that creates technology. We have moved so far, just in the past three years, (as the technology of this very blog proves), that it is becoming obvious that any nation’s dominance in the world arena, will be determined by that country’s grasp of exciting technology. The power to shape world events, which has been ours since WWII, will fall to whatever nation advances furthest in matters of intellectual prowess. A nation’s wealth will be determined, no longer by its indigenous raw materials, but by the number of its cell phone companies, broadband Internet providers, and cable services it can offer to the world economy.

Tom Friedman put it most succinctly to his children using the old adage mothers fed their children by. ” You had better do your homework, because somewhere in the Third World, there is a child doing his homework, WHO WANTS YOUR JOB.”

On this playing field, what does our country gain if everyone knows the history of the underground railroad, the rote of vocabulary words picked two generations ago, and how to add and subtract, multiply and divide. All are worth knowing, don’t get me wrong, but just how necessary are they to our future? Basic blocks of knowledge, but as a society we have to figure how to play and win at NFL playoff-level football after having just been taught how to throw and catch.

There are good ideas out there to move us in this direction. I will make them the subject of another post.

But right now, the point that needs pondered, as put best in the quote I started with, is whether or not some kids do need to be left behind.