A gigantic pyramid scheme

Catherine & Katharine

It was the opening sentence of an Opinion piece in last week’s Philadelphia Inquirer that first caught my eye:

Ask students what year Columbus sailed the ocean blue and they’ll likely respond with “1492!”

I’m guessing that most students these days have no idea when Columbus sailed over here. After all, as yesterday’s Washington Post reports, two-thirds of millennials don’t know what Auschwitz is, and 22% “haven’t heard of the Holocaust or are not sure whether they’ve heard of it.”

As for Siri Fiske, the author of the Inquirer piece, whatever she may know about historical facts, she seems out of touch with present-day practices:

Schools have been drilling such facts into children’s brains since the dawn of public education. In past decades, long lectures and rote learning were necessary evils…

You have to go back many decades before you find long lectures and rote learning as standard practices in K12…

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