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Letters to the Editor

Sat., March 30, 2013

Learning objectives misguided

I am a retired university science professor. The hallmark of science is hypothesis-testing. Before any idea is accepted, it must be confirmed by rigorous, independent testing. This is a rational approach that can be applied to most educational pursuits.

It seems that educational “standards” are developed in a scrutiny-free universe. Thus, children are exposed to grand experiments without timely assessment, our approval or our knowledge. Does anyone remember the open classroom? This was one of many ideas that sounded great on paper but was a cacophonous failure in practice. Yet, specially designed schools and curricula were developed to implement it.

Generations pass before the outcomes of educational reforms can be seen. By then, people have forgotten when education actually worked.

Adults design learning objectives, etc., that may be appropriate for them, but not for children who don’t think like adults. It’s like asking kids to play National Football League teams or chess champions. The results of educational reforms are clear to this old dog: They have been a dismal failure, and have established a misguided educational elite in our colleges and universities who are lost, along with all the students and parents they have misled.

David Webb


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