American Elephants

Reforming Our Education System, One Small Step At A Time by The Elephant's Child

I’m beginning to think we need  a new course somewhere in our education system. It should focus on the history of the world – in the sense of the big sweep of time from the Big Bang down to the present. The movements of people across the globe, the inventions and discoveries that changed the world, like the domestication of animals, the invention of the wheel, that sort of thing. In one sense, to grasp history, you need a sense of the big picture, and we have way too many people that simply do not have one.

The other thing that seems to be missing is a real sense of what it means to be human, which seems to be missing in this age of “identity politics”.

The current trend is to erase any history of which one does not approve, which shows nothing so much as a complete ignorance of what history is. The attempt to tear down Confederate monuments and change the names of buildings was a shameful attempt at “virtue signaling” to demonstrate what a good person the “signaler” is. The purpose of history is to show where we have been so that we can learn from our successes and our mistakes. Historians bemoan the history that is missing because of all the stuff that gets thrown away. Tearing down history because you disapprove of it is deeply shameful — but the virtue signalers are utterly clueless.

The Newest Fix For K-12 Education by The Elephant's Child

I am troubled by our K-12 education system. I don’t think the teacher’s unions have the welfare of the kids in mind, but just good pay for teachers and more union dues for political purposes. I don’t like the administration’s “Common Core” national curriculum, but believe that better education comes from intense competition among schools and school districts.

Political correctness, the self-esteem movement, and diversity, are noxious ideas that have done enormous damage to our kids. It’s well known that our kids are confident, have high self-esteem, and don’t know anything about math and history, or how to write a paper. And it’s unsurprising that home-schooled kids do better than public school grads.

One of the major problems with education is that everybody has participated in it, and thus has a better idea about how to fix education. I plead guilty.

This article just appeared in our local paper:

The School District will launch a new social and emotional learning curriculum in grades three through five to help children work well together.

Called the RULER approach — an acronym for Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing and Regulation emotion —the curriculum teaches skills to promote effective personal, social and workplace success. The idea is based on decades of research from Yale University.

Research shows that emotional literacy skills support academic success and promote school engagement, school officials say. Data also shows that students who recognize and regulate their emotions are more focused on instruction and invested in their learning. Those social and emotional skills create a foundation for taking academic risks. Over the school year, students and staff will learn four “anchor tools” to develop skills:

  • Emotional Literacy Charter: Students create and sign charters t o describe how they want to feel in class, what needs to happen to support those feelings and guidelines for handling uncomfortable conflict.
  • Mood Meter: Students learn to use a tool for recognizing and labeling their feelings.
  • Meta-Moments: Students learn strategies for expanding the “space in time” between an emotional trigger and a response.
  • Blueprint: Used to problem-solve conflicts and disagreements, with students and adults considering each other’s (sic) feelings and perspectives to identify healthy solutions.

The RULER approach will be built into lessons throughout the school year. While the RULER approach will be introduced to students in grades three through five this year, school  staff and administrators across the district also have been trained to use the tools.

I’m inclined to say I think it’s spinach and I say the hell with it.


Old but famous cartoon from the New Yorker, probably in the 1930s.

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