Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

THE EDITOR'S PAGE: Where's the Fire

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

THE EDITOR'S PAGE: Where's the Fire

Article excerpt

SLOW DOWN, you move too fast. . . ." If you can finish at least most of the lyrics of that popular late-Sixties anthem, sung by Simon and Garfunkel, you are certainly dating yourself. (My apologies to readers who get the tune stuck in their heads for a week as a result of having read this far.) But you might also want to take a little time to think about whether there might be a message for today's times in those words.

No, I'm not going to harangue everyone about lead-footed drivers or those who think that waiting for a space to open up in traffic just might cause them to miss the next big investment opportunity. I save those harangues for my family. They say I'm already well on my way to becoming a curmudgeon, and I guess they're right because I take that as a compliment!

No, the message I'm suggesting Kappan readers might derive from humming a few bars of that old tune has to do with Maurice Holt's cover article, "It's Time to Start the Slow School Movement." Borrowing from the philosophy of the "slow food" movement, the creation of an Italian journalist, Holt wonders if there shouldn't be more to schooling than the pursuit of "tough standards" and higher test scores. The whole effort often seems to amount to little more than a getting handful of kids who are near the cutoff scores on state tests to perform slightly better so that the school can move itself up a rung in the rankings.

But some ideas and many kinds of learning are not subject to a predetermined, deterministic schedule -- whether it comes from the school district, the state, or the federal government. Indeed, Holt views the notion that "education is about assessed performance on specified content" as a "curriculum straitjacket. …

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