High school teachers, please don't think I'm grinding on you here. I think my concern is more with our culture overall.
see, the other day I was talking with a man of about 30; he was a
graduate of one of our local private high schools, and I asked him if he
knew that the school was located right across the street from the house
occupied by Spiro T. Agnew back in the day.
"I've never heard of Spiro Agnew," he pointed out.
kind of education excludes learning about Nixon/Agnew/Watergate, etc?" I
asked myself. I've long since learned that people don't really
appreciate these questions, no matter how valid I find them.
get into this all the time with Peggy, and her point is that people
don't tend to learn about things that occur before their birth. My
rejoinder is that if that were true, no one would know much about the
Civil War, the Industrial Revolution and the Monroe Doctrine.
Her rejoinder is that no one really does.
teachers, why not? We've argued about the way schools teach math these
days, with less reliance on basic arithmetical principle and more
concentration on just how all those digits make up a Facebook status
change. We've been all over English. I mean that in every sense of the
word; I believe that each and every day, our lovely language is dragged
down to the town square and beaten to within an inch of its life by
television hosts, athletes, and the people who write commercials for
television hosts and athletes to read. How a person can sit there and
read aloud "A portion of all the donations go to charity in your area"
without decrying the lack of subject-verb agreement is beyond me. How a
person can fail to comprehend basic English words is also beyond me.
And how the schools can hand a diploma to someone who cannot write a
simple declarative sentence is so far beyond me, it would take extra
postage to get me there.
But history? Don't we want the children to know about how we got to where we are?
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it," said
George Santayana, to which I can only add, "How can one remember the
past if one's school focused their curriculum on the teaching of tone
poems and performance art?"
for those unfamiliar, Spiro T. "Spiro" Agnew was a local politician
here who took sacks full of money from paving contractors while in
several high-ranking offices, was chosen by Richard M. "Dick" Nixon to
be his vice-president because "No assassin in his right mind would kill
me, because then they'd get Agnew as president" (as Nixon was quoted by
felon John Ehrlichman) and then Agnew resigned the office in disgrace
when the Feds finally brought him down on tax evasion charges, and later
Agnew wrote an autobiography which implied that Alexander Haig told him
to "go quietly...or else" when the G-Men showed up with the papers.
That's a story worthy of repeating, so that today's youth will learn not to repeat it. Or something.