What's the point of looking at pictures beamed from the Hubble Telescope if a child has never gazed at her own stars above a dark meadow on a moonless night?
What's the point of financial literacy if a child does not know that everything essential for life comes from from the grace of an ultimately unknowable universe?
What's the point of education?
Not everything worth knowing is testable, and a lot of testable items are, frankly, not worth knowing. I'm not convinced Mr. Duncan, a graduate of Harvard, grasps this.
You can know the name of a bird in all the languages of the world, but when you're finished, you'll know absolutely nothing whatever about the bird... So let's look at the bird and see what it's doing -- that's what counts. I learned very early the difference between knowing the name of something and knowing something.
The dolphins are back in the Delaware Bay.
They are wild, they are big. You can hear them chirping and clicking if you stick your head in the water, a bit dicey in early spring.
Critters three times my size are swimming just off the beach, that left the land to return to the sea.
How do you teach about the dolphin? How do you describe the swirl of water as a young one dives under your kayak? How do you capture the sound you hear in late August as you bob underwater listening for their chatter?
How can I do better than just point and say look! Look!?
And if I teach a child to look, to learn, to know something by observing, how can that be tested?
It does not matter if a child knows the name Tursiops truncatus. It does not matter if a child can tell me the average weight of an adult male, or how many pound of fish it eats, or where it spends its winter. All of that means nothing, nothing, until the child sees the beast slap its magnificent tail 40 yards off the beach, this wild grinning beast that chose to return to the sea.