Gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.
~ GK Chesterton

Monday, September 8, 2014

Educational Policy and Nonsense

Last week's 7 Quick Takes is still floating around my mind.  In particular, I wonder at the way The Powers That Be are so inconsistent in their logic about where children need protection and where they should be encouraged to explore on their own.

The longer I live, the more libertarian I become.  But, Catholic libertarian at that.  I believe everyone, children too, are best able to practice and exercise free will in an atmosphere where there is a definitive structure of Right and Wrong, but with plenty of latitude for individuality regarding learning style, working style, playing style.  It's why I am pleased to be Catholic.  Those who whinge and whine about authoritarianism have no clue.

GK Chesterton comes to my rescue.
In this age of child-psychology nobody pays any attention to the actual psychology of the child. All that seems to matter is the psychology of the psychologist and the particular theory or train of thought that he is maintaining against another psychologist. Most of the art and literature now magnificently manufactured for children is not even honestly meant to please children. The artist would hardly condescend to make a baby laugh if nobody else laughed, or even listened. These things are not meant to please the child. At best they are meant to please the child-lover. At the worst they are experiments in scientific educational method.
I'm sure Chesterton would have plenty to say about Common Core.  I'm sure I'd agree with what he had to say, too!

Go read Child Psychology and Nonsense at the Chesterton Society website.  Chesterton's essay doesn't solve the frustration that's been going through my head, but at least he's sympathetic.
For there are two ways of dealing with nonsense in this world. One way is to put nonsense in the right place; as when people put nonsense into nursery rhymes. The other is to put nonsense in the wrong place; as when they put it into educational addresses, psychological criticisms, and complaints against nursery rhymes or other normal amusements of mankind.

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