Thursday, February 08, 2018


There are mornings in which I find  I have very little to say. It's not because there's not a lot going on. I try to keep my comments non-political because the wisdom of the hands is not political per se. Whether my readers are of one party or the other or no party at all, the hands are necessary to the making of intelligence and human culture and I choose not to go into all that's ailing me.

I think a lot about what schools are for. One championship idea that stands out is that schools are to build democracy by equipping students with interpersonal problem solving skills and techniques and to equip them for real life by allowing them to do real things.

Due to our failure to actually equip schools with teachers allowed time, training and experience in that, schooling is abandoned to less noble aspirations. The powers that be decided for a while that every child must go to college. Deciding that all children would go to college gave schools the excuse to abandon the dual track schooling in which some students would self-select for the trades and others would choose college prep. But then colleges don’t want to lower their standards to accommodate the uneducated and ill-prepared to join their ranks and they've required nearly 30 percent of those ill-prepared for college students to take remediation courses at their own expense, making up for what they either did not learn in high school or were not taught.

So then those students spend (and have lost) big bucks even before they are given a chance to compete for a college degree. The serial effect of that is tragic. Students drop out, owing thousands of dollars they can barely pay on the low salaries they receive.

My point is not that some kids should not go to college, but that all children should be better prepared for learning and for life by doing real things and by learning to get along with each other. The hands forge the crucible within which mind is formed.  I would love for all students to go to college. College should be made affordable, and learning should be lifelong. Students should be granted credit for what they’ve learned in life as well as for the time they’ve spend seat-wise. I have all these noble thoughts about schooling. But we have schooling that's allowed too few noble thoughts, I’m afraid.

My student Ozric noted the huge array of sparks that came from the grinder as he ground the edge of the cleaver he'd hammered from an old lawnmower blade. That's carbon, he told the other students.

Make, fix and create.

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