September 24, 2009

Students can study more than one subject at a time

The future of our nation and world depend on our citizens' understanding of both how they interact with each other and how they interact with the natural world [emphasis added].
--FSU physicist Paul Cottle, responding to a critic who thinks we should be more worried about civics knowledge

As an historian, I agree with Cottle. I want my fellow citizens to have some grounding in more than one subject. I want my neighbors to know that a cookie contains more energy than an equivalent mass of TNT. And I want my neighbors to understand that Jehovah's Witnesses were the plaintiffs in the landmark 1943 case striking down a West Virginia law that mandated students say the pledge of allegiance. And I want them to have those small bits as part of a larger context from each discipline. I think it's possible to hold ideas in one's head from more than one discipline. More than possible: necessary.

Unfortunately, no one has yet taught high school students -- or college professors -- how to answer 80 e-mails in five minutes, which is why I now need to turn to my inbox instead of blogging about anything in depth. 134 e-mails. Yikes.

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Posted in Education policy on September 24, 2009 10:17 AM |