So this is what “progressives” call education

I am the product of the public education system of the 50s and 60s. So it’s understandable that things have changed since my day. Knowledge is growing at an exponential rate. The world is a much smaller place. The students today need to know every thing I needed to know and so much more. The world has always been a competitive place but it is much more so today.

Without a doubt, I had some teachers that were terrible teachers. It was obvious that they really didn’t want to be teachers. But these teachers were the exception and not the rule. I had many fine and capable teachers.

I always liked math and science; English and literature not so much, which explains why I became an engineer. However, there was one English-Lit teacher I had in my sophomore year of highschool that changed  me forever. She was hard as nails and very demanding. She had a knack for assessing a students potential and she adjusted her teaching accordingly. In other words, she demanded that every student work up to their ability. She did not demand more from any student. She would often send a group of the better students to the library to do some special assignment while she worked with the rest of us. From her I learned how to truly read and not just the words if you know what I mean. One day something unthinkable, to me, happened. I was sent off to the library along with the better students to do a special assignment. Let me tell you, from that day forward I would have moved heaven and hell  to prove her faith in me was justified. This one teacher opened up a whole other world to me.

 All of this is to say that I find books to be something almost sacred. So when I read this article in “The American Spectator”, which was based on this article in “Houston Press Blogs” I was dumbfounded. 

This story takes place in Houston, Texas, where

Principal James McSwain of Lamar High School….has thrown out nearly all the books and filled the space they were unnecessarily taking up with couches and coffee and food and told his students that they can access the exciting world of reading through e-books! And if they don’t have a laptop of their own and Internet access to do so, they can use one of the laptop computers in the library coffeeshop!

He’s even expanded the library coffeeshop hours to 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. which works great if you’re one of those kids with your own transportation and not one who is too young, too poor or with rotten parents who won’t let you drive to school yourself rather than riding the bus.

And he’s bought 35 new laptops! For a Houston ISD flagship school with more than 3,000 students in it.

Now let me be clear. I think the internet is the greatest educational tool ever. I love it. But come on! I’ve read many books on-line and I’m sorry but I find the experience a far second best to reading a real book. Tol hold in your hands the thoughts and visions of another person   is just not the same thing as reading on-line. And for a highschool to literally throw away the books from their library is utter foolishness, a sacrilidge.

So am I an old fuddy duddy that has fallen behind the times? What do you think?

10 thoughts on “So this is what “progressives” call education

  1. Whether or not you’re a fuddy duddy is an entirely different matter…

    I have no problem with e-books. In fact, I am deeply in love with my Kindle. I read 27 Kindle books this year, everything from “The Road to Serfdom” to “Intellectuals and Society” to “The Sackett Brand”. The key to the e-book on a Kindle or iPad is portability. Also the wonderful thing about a paper book. You can read it on your couch, in bed, in the bathroom…

    The problem with this numbnuts in Houston is that, for some percentage of the kids (those without a home computer, a laptop, a Kindle, or an iPad), he’s eliminating the ability to read at home. I became a lover of reading when I took books to bed at night and read until the book fell out of my hand. I still do that with my Kindle. How does a kid become a lover of reading when the only place they can read is in a school library, IF they are lucky enough to get access to one of the laptops.

    I find it odd that liberals (I’m assuming this guy in Houston is a liberal… my bad if he’s not) always decry the ignorance of the masses, and then they do everything in their power to assure that the masses get increasingly ignorant. Just another liberal paradox.

    By the way, if you love books, I wrote one! It’s made from dead trees, fits nicely in your hand, has decent sized print, and a conservative, free market point of view! http://www.tamarackconspiracy.com . Please give it a look, Jim.

    1. Okay, so I am a fuddy-duddy. I can live with that. Your analysis of the school Principal is right on also.I would love to read your book, Pat. Unfortunately I live in Venezuela on a small pension so I have no credit cards, which precludes me from buying anything on the Internet. I asked you once before if your book had been translated into Spanish. If so I will definitely look for it the next time I’m in Caracas.

      Thanks for the comment.

    2. Just to show that I actually read Pat’s comment, bravo for reading The Sackett Brand. Louis L’Amour was an amazing author.

      1. LD.. I’m a huge Louis L’Amour fan! He would’ve made a great conservative blogger. When I travel I usually like to read something fun, and I often pick a L’Amour book.

  2. If you are an old fuddy-duddy, then count me in the same category. I love the Internet and enjoy blogging much more than I ever thought possible, but if I am going to read a book, give me one I can hold in my hands. I read one of Jack London’s novels online and it just isn’t the same thing.

  3. Pat and Larry, getting back to this high school thourwing away their library books and replacing them with 35 laptops, let me say two more things:

    First are e-books free? From what I know there are some sites where one can read the classics free but I can’t imagine all high school students are going to be into the classics and so if they can’t afford to pay for an e-book of their choice what good is this program?

    Second, how many of these 3000 students competing for 35 computers are actually using the computers to read e-books instead of something else that has a little educational value?

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