Schools In A Time Warp

"There's a dark little joke exchanged by educators with a dissident streak," begins this week's Time cover story about how outdated and insufficient public education is even outside of low-performing schools (and timed to coincide with the release of a report from the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce. "Rip Van Winkle awakens in the 21st century after a hundred-year snooze and is, of course, utterly bewildered by what he sees. Men and women dash about, talking to small metal devices pinned to their ears. Airports, hospitals, shopping malls--every place Rip goes just baffles him. But when he finally walks into a schoolroom, the old man knows exactly where he is. "This is a school," he declares. "We used to have these back in 1906. Only now the blackboards are green."

UPDATE: Kevin Carey at TQATE reads all about it and asks the impertinent question: Why Is It So Important That American Students Learn a Foreign Language? I tend to agree -- especially if it ends up that software can do the translating work for us someday soon. But then I flunked out of Mandarin spring of my freshman year.

UPDATE 2: Sherman Dorn says Carey is all wet about foreign languages (The value of foreign languages) and that we should all stop overgeneralizing from our own personal experiences.


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