Monday, November 19, 2007

Out of touch with reality. Disney World and American education. I was on my way out of town last week to teach in Little Rock, and I pulled up at the gas pump next to a friend Ernie Kilman who is a talented water color artist, and runs Kings River Outfitters, supplying canoe rentals and pick-up service on the Kings River. The Kings is a highly regarded small mouth bass stream, flowing unrestrained against high bluffs, across gravel bars, through long pools and rapids in the midst of beautiful woodlands. Ernie mentioned how many of his customers are out of touch with basic reality. "It is very disturbing" he said, "but funny, too." He told of one customer (an adult male, complete with wife and children) who asked, "So we put the canoe in here, float downstream, and then we get out over there?" pointing to a spot upstream on the river. "No," Ernie replied, "You can take out here, but I'll have to shuttle you and the canoes to a starting point." "You mean it doesn't flow in a circle?" he asked.

I guess he thought it was an amusement ride, but is this what happens in American education?

Woodworking in schools teaches children to be alert, attentive, and inquisitive. It hones the powers of observation and investigation, and develops the intellect. They've pulled real stuff out of the schools and stilled the hand's natural investigations and guess what we get? Dumb. Very dumb.


  1. Anonymous4:21 PM

    "I guess he thought it was an amusement ride, but is this what happens in American education?"

    All I can do is shake my head and wonder. Have people's brains really been turned off to that extent?

  2. Anonymous4:31 PM

    PS On second thought, I shouldn't be so surprised at the stupidity. The plumber was here today to do a job that I could have done, if I wanted to spend all day at it and make five trips to the hardware store. It took the plumber a little under an hour.

    The plumber was surprised that I knew where (not to mention what) the main shutoff water valve for the house was. Living in a 90 year old house and being curious about making and fixing things, this is something I need to know.