Growth versus competition

With every government initiative in education there are unforeseen consequences. The current drive to build character through sport (and other activities) is having, in my opinion, an unforeseen negative impact on curriculum PE. Staffing, finances, facilities and time are being redistributed from PE provision to school sport provision. Now this might not necessarily be a bad thing, but it has to be provision beyond the current narrowness of school sport which tends to be traditional team games focused on winning competitions for the purpose of bringing prestige to the school. This reduction in PE which focuses on movement for all in favour of school sport which focuses on competition for some worries me.

~ “Sporticus” from, https://drowningintheshallow.wordpress.com/2019/06/16/the-physically-educated-person/

It’s always nice to see someone else talking about sport as a subset of movement. “PE” is so entrenched as a thing; does anyone still wonder what should physical education even be? Apparently, fortunately, the answer is “yes.”

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Radically brilliant

Maria Montessori’s ideas about education stem from the principles of choice, individual dignity, spontaneous order, experimental discovery, and freedom of movement. They stand in radical contrast to traditional schooling, too often based on authority, central planning, rigid instruction, and force. She once described children in such schools as “butterflies stuck with pins, fixed in their places.”

~ David Kirby from, https://reason.com/2022/01/30/maria-montessoris-libertarian-view-of-children/

This is a great introduction to Montessori, both the person and her ideas about education. Back in the Precambrian Era, my school district did a few decidedly Montessorian things. Did those make a difference for me? …were they the most important things in my primary education? Great questions for which I’ve no answer. I will say that my greatest memories—the ones that are about education, not the ones which simply happened in and around my schooling as great as those are—from primary education are from those decidedly unusual-for-that-time methods. The proof is in the pudding, as they say.

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A right to know what?

It’s hard to quarrel with that ancient justification of the free press: “America’s right to know.” It seems almost cruel to ask, ingenuously, “America’s right to know what, please? Science? Mathematics? Economics? Foreign languages?” None of those things, of course. In fact, one might well suppose that the popular feeling is that Americans are a lot better off without any of that tripe.

~ Isaac Asimov from (Newsweek Jan 21, 1980) https://media.aphelis.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/ASIMOV_1980_Cult_of_Ignorance.pdf

tripe n. 2: something poor, worthless, or offensive

That’s the second definition, and is clearly the one Asimov was using. For some reason, I believe I would have said that the first definition had something to do with fish. (It does not.)

In addition, suspecting that Asimov knew a thing or three more than me, had not made a capitalization error in writing “mandarin minority”—you’ll have to click now, won’t you?—I spent several minutes in my Dictionary and learned a second thing.

And finally a third thing: 1980. 2021. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Preschool

I talked to Kelsey about some of the research for her article, and independently came to the same conclusion: despite the earlier studies of achievement being accurate, preschools (including the much-maligned Head Start) do seem to help children in subtler ways that only show up years later. Children who have been to preschool seem to stay in school longer, get better jobs, commit less crime, and require less welfare. The thing most of the early studies were looking for – academic ability – is one of the only things it doesn’t affect.

~ Scott Alexander from, http://slatestarcodex.com/2018/11/06/preschool-i-was-wrong/

Presented without comment. Except of course for this comment where I confess that—for the umpteenth time—I’ve read something written by Scott Alexander and had my mind broadened (in a good way.)

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