Since my retirement was announced, it is amazing to learn that everyone seems to know how a musical ensemble should be taught and how a program should be staffed. People who have never taught an ensemble or even been a member of an ensemble seem to think they know everything about them. Simply amazing. I have always tried to live by the belief that if you don’t know what your talking about it is better to remain silent but apparently others do not buy into that practice.
Since we live in an age where everyone is entitled to an opinion and all opinions, however uninformed, are equally valid here we go.
- I do not believe that every student needs four years of math in high school. Beyond learning basic arithmetic that allows one to balance a checkbook and some basic advanced math that aids in brain development,most students do not need or want more advanced math. Many, if not most adults live happily and successfully without using anything beyond basic operations.
- The same is true of the sciences. An introduction to the scientific process and a basic understanding of biology, chemistry, and physics is probably enough for most adults, even in the twenty-first century.
- Reading classic literature? Really any literature is probably not needed. That’s why we have Audible. You can listen to the great books and pick up some mass market fiction as well. No need to read.
- Writing? Since most people only write social media posts, why are we insisting that students write essays and research papers. A few sentences, with sketchy grammar are good enough for Twitter and Facebook. TikTok and Snapchat don’t require you to write at all.
I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. All of these and other disciplines are valuable for different students at different levels of intensity. Many students would be better served by allowing other electives but some will benefit from advanced study in math, science, or language. Some might be well served by more classes in the arts. I do not understand why we try to force every student into the same cookie cutter mold. Let’s let them figure out where their passions lie and concentrate their studies in those areas. Let them explore a wide variety of disciplines.
That’s my two cents work, but as usual, I got nuthin’…