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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|Last night I took one quote from Rep. Mike Merrifield and had a little fun with it.|
Hey, somebody's got to--God know Democrats don't have any sense of humor.
But, perhaps in doing that, I may have given really short shrift to what he was really saying.
I think Merrifield's underlying point was that increasing Math and Science graduation requirements forces students away from other subjects that we all believe contribute to students' essential human-ness. In the long run, this very likely means important school programs like music, art, and theater dry up and become hollow shells of what they can be.
Those of us in the schools realize that this would be tragic. While it is ABSOLUTELY critical that students be functional in math and science, and necessary for the college-bound to have fairly high proficiencies in those two subject areas, the students on the other end of the spectrum--the ones for whom college is not in the works, but who could really get into life on the right path if they get their diplomas--need alternatives like the performing arts. Not only does it really matter--I mean, REALLY matter--that students have the opportunity to learn how to express themselves in an artistic fashion, but for some students the only reason they come to school is music, art, and theater. And while that is not exactly how we would all design a perfect school program, I think only the most die-hard Darwinist would argue that more dropouts are a good thing.
But Merrifield, as is his wont, makes his point exceedingly clumsily.
And not only that, but Merrifield has a way to accomplish exactly what he wants to. He can have schools that have Fine and Performing Arts requirements; he can have schools that take a more relaxed approach to the "pure" academics; if he wants to, he can have a school that is designed specifically around the research findings of Howard Gardener.
Within the system put in place by a Republican legislature and a former Republican governor, Merrifield could create whatever school he wanted to, and have whatever outcomes he wishes for to demonstrate competence.
The problem is, Merrifield, his Democrat friends, and their "allies" in Big Education have been working overtime to tear down that very system.
In short: Mr. Merrifield, if you want a school with Fine Arts requirements, if you want a school with a creative curriculum that gives equal weight to the Arts and the sciences . . .
start a Charter School.