by: Tom Morrow
One of my biggest gripes about the education of today’s youth is they are left not knowing where we, as a people, have been and they have little knowledge of where we’re headed – historically or geographically.
The important subjects of history and geography are given short shrift in our elementary and high schools. If you’ve watched any of those “man-on-the-street” TV interviews several entertainment and news outlets have held, you’ll realize just how little the younger generation knows about, well, anything it takes to be a knowledgeable citizen. And, they don’t have to be all that young.
Many older Americans are blaming this situation on what is called “Common Core,” which dominates the curriculum of most of today’s public schools. Fair comments or not, it seems to be true that the subject of history is given only a small portion of daily class time, and geography almost none at all.
Don’t blame the teachers. More often teachers don’t agree with the implementation of Common Core State Standards, but they have little choice but to go along with the program. Some teachers have told me they spend much of their time making sure students can pass the tests that are required by Common Core.
Why Common Core and what is it?
Common Core State Standards is an educational initiative detailing what K-12 students should know in English language arts and mathematics at the end of each grade. The plan was sponsored by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. It seeks to establish consistent educational standards across the nation as well as ensure students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit-bearing courses at two- or four-year college programs or enter the workforce. It’s hard to argue against those goals.
The stated goal of the English Language Arts and Literacy in History, a.k.a. Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects standards is to ensure students are college and career ready in literacy no later than the end of high school.
Again, nothing wrong with the goals. Jobs of today and well into the future will require a heavy emphasis in math and science and one needs to be able to express yourself intelligently. The call for various job types in engineering and computer technology continues to grow.
But, as admirable as those Common Core goals may be, the emphasis often seems to be unbalanced. Knowledge in English and math in the past has certainly has been woefully lacking in our graduates. But, did the pendulum swing a bit too far to the other side?
Our society should require citizens who have an appreciation of America’s history and world geography. But to that end, something seems to be falling through the cracks.
Don’t take my word for any of this. Check things out for yourself. Try asking your kids or grandkids any of the following simple questions:
- What’s the state capitol of California?
- What’s the national capitol of Canada?
- In what city and colony was our Declaration of Independence signed?
- Name the three branches of our national government?
- Chicago’s beach is along what body of water?
Any student in middle or high school should know the answers. If you don’t know the answers to these rather simple history, civic, and geography questions, well…
TIME FLIES – Doesn’t seem like 20th years since the first Oceanside Museum of Art Gala was held. The late Art Heinemann and the late George Schleder hosted in their backyard the first of what they dubbed “La Nuit des Beaux Arts (The Night of the Beautiful Arts). That moniker has since been dropped. Succeeding galas were held a couple of years in Dave Rorrick’s beautiful garden. Now, the 20th annual Oceanside Museum of Art Gala will be held on the Civic Center Plaza beginning at 6 p.m., Saturday, July 26.
Dining will be catered by White Lotus Events Productions and dance music will be under the stars to the music of The Fabulous Pelicans.
For more information and reservations, please call OMA at 760-435-3720.
Send me your items of interest and comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.