Monday, May 02, 2005

On Dumbed Down Schools

Check out this provocative paragraph from an essay entitled “Democratic Education” written in 1944. It was, as you'll see, a response to the dumbing down of public education seen even then.

“Apparently,” the writer begins, “we must also abolish all compulsory subjects and make the curriculum so wide that every boy will get a chance at something.
Even the boy who can’t or won’t learn his alphabet can be praised and petted for something – handicrafts or gymnastics, moral leadership or deportment, citizenship or the care of guinea pigs, hobbies or musical appreciation. Anything he likes! Then no boy and no boy’s parents need feel inferior.

And education on those lines would be pleasing to democratic feelings. It will have repaired the inequalities of nature but it is quite another question if it will breed a democratic nation which can survive or even one whose survival is even desirable. The improbability of a nation thus educated could survive need not be labored. Obviously it can only escape destruction if its enemies are so obliging to adopt the same system. A nation of dunces can be safe only in a world of dunces.”

Oh yes. Did I forget to mention the author of this confrontational essay? It was a fellow you may have heard of -- C.S. Lewis.