Out of Our Minds

2011

If you have a child in public schools or even if you don’t, you have likely heard of the Common Core curriculum. Common Core sets benchmarks in learning for each grade level K-12. Here is a quick overview directly from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.

“Academic standards are expectations for what students should know and be able to do in kindergarten through 12th grade.   The Common Core State Standards articulate this knowledge and skills in the areas of English language arts and mathematics.

Example English language arts CCSS from grade 3: Determine the main idea of a text; recount the key details and explain how they support the main idea (Informational Reading, 3.2)”

Educator and author Ken Robinson challenges the notion that education can be distilled into an age based / grade level based, one size fits all approach, that every child in fourth grade should be at the same level of knowledge. In his book, Out of Our Minds he challenges the idea that all children should be expected to know the same materials at the same age. He even challenges the notion that children should be broken up into grades the way traditional schools do. More importantly he argues that education today has turned “septic,” that we have cut away important pieces (the arts) in order to force a focus on reading, math and science. Robinson argues that in today’s market it the ability to thinking creatively and form original ideas will be more important than many of the items the current educational system has pushed to the top of the list.

 

Whether you agree or disagree with Robinson’s reasoning he does build a solid case for his beliefs and the book gives a lot of food for thought. I would highly recommend this book for anyone interested in education.  If you don’t have time to get through the book I would at least give his TED Talk a listen, it clocks in at around twelve minutes and is certainly worth the time spent. 

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