I taught jr. high English for only 4 years, but I learned that intelligence could not be equated with essay-writing and aceing the test. I observed young'uns whose intelligence flowed straight from brain to fingertips, few words required. And I was saddened by how the system ignored, even squelched the natural curiosity of such students. That curiosity is, in fact, the very bedrock of an educable mind, and a sure sign of intelligence. Such students are often very impatient with our teach-to-the-bottom educational system.
When we bought our neighborhood hardware store, it was those "handy" kids we sought to hire, for their fascination with how things work is a huge asset and guarantor or their success in helping customers solve practical problems. Worst of all is to be a handy kid in a wealthy home where any college is affordable, and no other option considered. Such kids end up drinking their way through college and maybe even several more years of life before allowing themselves the dignity of pursuing their natural interests in carpentry, mechanics, electronics, farming, design.... We practice such educational snobbery and elitism that kids feel there's no reason to apply themselves in high school if they don't see college in their future. Little do they realize how they will need all the verbal and mathematical skills they can master just to protect themselves and their assets as they navigate this global life..It's late... I ramble. You hit a flashpoint! We as a nation cannot afford to continue with our shallow and simplistic thinking about public education.
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