That Old-Time Education
Victor Davis Hanson takes a worthy (albeit brief) look at modern education and makes some suggestions:
We should first scrap the popular therapeutic curriculum that in the scarce hours of the school day crams in sermons on race, class, gender, drugs, sex, self-esteem, or environmentalism. These are well-intentioned efforts to make a kinder and gentler generation more sensitive to our nation’s supposed past and present sins. But they only squeeze out far more important subjects.
The old approach to education saw things differently than we do. Education (“to lead out” or “to bring up”) was not defined as being “sensitive” to, or “correct” on, particular issues. It was instead the rational ability to make sense of the chaotic present through the abstract wisdom of the past.
So literature, history, math and science gave students plenty of facts, theorems, people, and dates to draw on. Then training in logic, language, and philosophy provided the tools to use and express that accumulated wisdom. Teachers usually did not care where all that training led their students politically — only that their pupils’ ideas and views were supported with facts and argued rationally.
He also thinks that an Master’s degree ought to count as qualification to teach, in order to fill classrooms with people with “real academic knowledge rather than prepped with theories about how to teach.”