Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Teaching the basics

A public school in Massachusetts, according to this article by Liza Porteus, considers it's top priority for math instruction to be teaching "respect for human differences." This boils down to diversity and tolerance training. The second priority for math students is "problem solving and representation-students will build new mathematical knowledge as they use a variety of techniques to investigate and represent solutions to problems."

Once again, I find it difficult to understand why an institution supposedly dedicated to educating children consistently slips into indoctrinating kids in what it finds to be important, morally and socially.

First of all, it is the parents job to teach moral and social values. And, guess what? Those values don't have to be accepted by everyone! America is, since it's founding, a place of diverse ideas, religion and morals. As a nation, we have the freedom to believe anything we choose.

Secondly, the public school's job is to give children an education. Since it seems to be having trouble succeeding in it's primary job, I think that the extra energy expended in teaching social values, would be better used in teaching the basics: reading, writing, math, history and science. These subjects provide the foundation for future learning and living, and parents provide the moral compass by which a child's life is guided.