This post isn’t about Common Core and it’s many controversies. This post is about teaching our school children how to put pencil to paper to be able to write. You know, one of the old fashion Three R’s, the ‘Ritin one. Well, according to the new fangeled, highfalutin education standards of Common Core, learning handwriting is no longer necessary. But despite their best intentions and regardless of its so very impressive name, the Common Core State Standards Initiative, may have missed the mark once again.
This post isn’t even a timely one, necessarily. The debate has been raging for a while but I want to call attention to the latest in a New York Times Science Section report on the real value of handwriting. It seems that ‘the science isn’t done’ on this issue. The Times reports that studies are showing that, how we write, does matter.
There are studies that show a relationship between handwriting and other educational development.
“Children not only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. In other words, it’s not just what we write that matters — but how.” New York Times
It seems once again to be a case where we might be rushing to the future without fully understanding all of the consequences of the changes we are making.
Of course not everyone joined the Common Core crusade and have been working to restore handwriting to our school’s curricula.
But NPR begs to differ in this report on why “cursive” just isn’t important. Or, then again maybe it is.
And if you are really interested another fascinating study on “The write way to spell: printing vs. typing effects on orthographic learning”. Science is great because it gets you to THINK.
First Lady Michelle Obama can be commended for her focus on what’s good for the diet of America’s youth. Ms. Obama couldn’t be more correct, our children’s diet needs improving and physical activity is necessary for good health. But what is the reality of her “Let’s Move” program?
Seems like many public school children are far from impressed with what it has meant to their school lunches. They have been using #ThanksMichelle and are Tweeting photos of their lunches. Lunches that are winding up in the trash can more than ever.
But check your privilege. The Obama daughters attend Sidwell Friends which has the # 1 school lunch program in America. Not the same menu you will find in public schools.
As with so many government-run programs, the intention may be good but the execution may leave much to be desired. From tales from the school cafeterias around the country what has been directed from Washington is not being well received and may be a bigger waste of money and food than the effort is worth. I don’t know if you can trust school children to know what is best for themselves but evidently they do know what they don’t like to have shoved down their throats even at their young age.
The Commencement Season is drawing to a close and it seems the drama and controversy leading up to it gets as much attention as the speeches themselves. Many speeches aren’t all that remarkable that they will long be remembered. But there are some that are inspiring, such as the words of Admiral William McRaven at the University of Texas. Adm. McRaven, A UT alum, is commander of U.S. Special Operations Command. As a former commander of SEAL Team 3, he drew on his training to call on the members of the Class of 2014 to live up to the motto of The University of Texas, “What starts here changes the world.” You have a chance to read and listen to his comments here.
He ends his address by telling the graduates that changing the world will not be easy,
“But start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often, but if you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up—if you do these things, then the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today. And what started here will indeed have changed the world, for the better.”
Take the time to listen to the entire speech, you won’t be sorry. Continue reading Admiral William McRaven’s Commencement Address At The University of Texas
Education-Portal shows how it is possible to save big money on a college education. This method is not for everyone but depending on your goals and financial situation it might be worth thinking about.
This case outlines the savings by using the “Credit By Exam” strategy. By using self-guided on-line study materials he was able to take care of his general education classes at a greatly reduced cost. Another way of accomplishing this is to attend a community college and getting an Associates in Arts degree for your efforts and also saving a lot of money it would have required to attend a four-year university. By transferring your units you wind up paying the big tuition for just your last two years and still walk away with the same diploma.
The Wall Street Cheat Sheet lists five majors to shy away from if you want to make a lot of money after college. Unfortunately some of these careers if not all of them are important jobs that can use the best educated, best qualified and most motivated professionals possible. Teaching in elementary school for example would never attract those whose first thought is $$$. Taking this career as an example, there are those who become teachers because it is just something they think they could make a living doing. Then there are the many who become teachers because they want an opportunity to make a difference in young lives and contribute to society regardless of the pay.
Think, Then Think Again. There have been lawsuits against for-profit schools for misleading potential students promising things they claim the schools ultimately didn’t provide. The result for many is a large debt and working at minimum wage jobs. There are traditional schools that are being proactive in providing data showing employment data of their graduates. Then of course there is the problem of having a degree but what does it mean to an employer?
A college education today is more problematic than ever. The speed of change in the world makes many career choices a problem. You may head off to school for four or more years dedicated to landing a job you really want only to find that it is a profession that has disappeared in the time you were studying in school. I know so many young people who are off to a university with no real idea of what they are going to do or would even want to do. Higher education takes a lot of your time and money and if you don’t have a lot of either to waste you need to do a lot of Thinking and soul-searching before you begin your journey into academia.
Taking a year off between high school and college is not the worst idea in the world. Athletes are given that opportunity by using a red-shirt year. A year where they aren’t playing on the team but are working out getting physically stronger as well as advancing emotionally and mentally. Even not going to college is an option. Depending on your interests, abilities and desires you may be better off at least postponing if not forgoing one completely.
I wish everyone had the type of intellectual curiosity and love of learning that they would want to be exposed to a learning environment a great university can provide. But even then financial considerations come into play. The “privileged” might be better able financially, to spend four years just soaking in knowledge without regard to what they can do with it after they earn their degree. No matter if you attend school or learn on your own, expanding you mind, your universe, your knowledge base tends to make one a better person, better citizen and hopefully more fulfilled as a person regardless of the ultimate monetary rewards.
It is worth the effort to shoot for whatever you want in life but it is very important to take every aspect of who you are and what your desires are into account before committing to a goal. The simple advice – Think, Then Think Again.