I feel a rant coming on. I am frustrated with the local
attitude towards education. We had an entire class of 20 students come to the
library yesterday. Their school no longer allows them to have field trips so
they walked to the library and spent an hour. No more field trips? Seriously?
It is a crime! They didn’t want a tour, they just wanted to get out of the
classroom for a little while. When I was a kid in the dark ages of education we
went to the local potato chip factory, McDonalds, the radio and TV stations and
the gravesite of Rebecca Winters (extra credit if you know who she is) as well
as our local national monument, the place somebody signed an Indian treaty
which they probably broke right away and down to the canal to catch frogs. We
also went a museum to watch some high school boys build a sod house. This is
what I remember off the top of my head after 30 years.

From these field trips I learned about how a production line
works, that McDonalds has a creepy basement, that a blind man can be a DJ on
the radio and how he used Braille, how a green screen works, that the family of
a woman who died on the Mormon Trail cared enough to use a precious piece of
iron to mark her grave, that our local monument is eroding every year, that
wars were fought right in our back yard and that you can catch and dissect your
own frogs without having to buy them from a warehouse somewhere. We also
learned that you can catch 8 male frogs and one female frog even though the
odds of that are slim and that sod is darn heavy.

 

And we want to deprive our children of this? It is what
makes school fun. It is like those overnight conferences I used to complain
about a little but I really loved because I got to network with other people
who were tackling the same problems I was at work. I came back refreshed and
energized.

 

It is the difference between applying knowledge and being
tested about knowledge. You can’t learn about nature by reading. Not really. I
know this from a college field trip. We took field trips in most of my college
classes and nearly once a week in some classes. We stepped out of the van onto
a high mountain meadow and the prof asked us if the area had been grazed
recently. I looked around and decided yes. I watched my classmates investigate
grass length and laughed as they tip-toed around fresh cow pies to do so. What
was obvious to me from my experience with nature was completely beyond them.
You won’t read about that in a book folks, not even The Principles of Range
Management
(which was an excellent text by the way).

 

This is why kids hate school. It becomes boring. Grade
schoolers especially need field trips every bit as much as they need recess and
lunch, just maybe not as often. That test isn’t going to get them anywhere in
life. It will not bring light to any subject, it will not make them think about
what they can be when they grow up, it will not give them any practical
applications of their knowledge, it will not incite compassion for others, it
will not help them understand that fresh cow poop comes from freshly grazed
grass.

I have not noticed a field trip scheduled for my daughters
this year. I am going to quiz their teachers about this. And I am gonna raise
hell if there isn’t one planned. Then I am gonna think about the school board,
because they cut teachers in the middle school and are now unable to offer HAL
classes. And I think I have at least two or three of those coming up. I
probably should also quit using the word gonna, but I like it for emphasis. I
also like ain’t for what that is worth, and I ain’t gonna stand for this.

 

In other exciting news, I typed this in Word then cut and pasted it. I cannot change the font size and for some reason it took my soft returns as hard returns. I am not gonna fight with it, but I have lost too many blogs because Xanga ate them before I got them posted. I am not sure what the answer is unless it is Blogspot or something like that. I am currently an unsatisfied customer.

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