Is Our Children Learning?

A story from New Zealand illustrates an educational trend that is spreading worldwide. A trend I see in the U S of A in the news far too often.

Schools, districts, and government instituted curriculum plans are trimming the meat from classroom learning. The article describes Shakespeare studies as being one of those trims: “Shakespeare’s plays and other great works of literature considered too difficult for some pupils will disappear from classrooms under proposed changes to the curriculum.” That statement makes me sick.

Isn’t school meant to be challenging? I remember complaining about difficult parts of class in middle school and high school, but dangit, I learned something!

Standardized testing and the like are putting emphasis on subjects of minimal importance. You can’t have a multiple-choice test on literature. Learning can’t be measured. Why not reintroduce Shakespeare and other “difficult” materials into the classroom and have the youth of today learn culture, critical thinking, and appreciation of art?

And who says Shakespeare is difficult? The real difficulty today is people finding the patience to really learn something that takes time. Anything worth learning can’t really be studied in one or a few class sessions, can it? I’ve been studying Shakespeare for years! Many have studied Shakespeare (or other creative arts related subjects) their entire lives and still find gratification in the pursuit of knowledge.

What will the world of tomorrow be in an education system that teaches us to skim the surface of the knowledge pool without ever swimming to the deep end of knowledge?