What would you teach in class if all your children had decent livelihoods waiting for them that did not require advanced math or public speaking skills? What if you had a child who loved clamming, was good at it, and who wanted to learn more about the world?
I suppose you could argue that he could use geometry to calculate the angles of his rake tines, and biology to find new clam beds, and language arts to create better copy for his business ads, but these are excuses, really, to teach what we want to teach, in 48 minute chunks, 5 days a week.
(When was the last time you used something you learned in high school you could not have learned on your own anyway?)
What would you teach a child interested in knowing more about the world aside from economic aspirations?
Yes, well, um, of course, but such a child is rare, you see, we must focus on the global economy, on future jobs we cannot predict, on beating the scores of China or Korea or Finland--we must prepare them for the "real world."
If you believe that children are not interested in learning about the world, you need to watch them outside of school.
It might just be that they're just not interested in what's happening in your room. Even if it's "on the test."
Imagine if you had to learn about clamming--trivia about the various rakes available, the various shellfish. Where are they found? How do you read a DEP map? How do you get a license? How do you read the tides, the wind, the water temperatures?
You might argue that learning about the particulars of clamming is, well, ridiculous, and I'd agree.
Tell me how "Us[ing] mathematical formulas to justify the concept of an efficient diet" grabs your interest.That's just one of our "cumulative progress indicators"(specifically 5.3.12.B.2) for biology. Now do this for multiple subjects.
And we wonder why the dropout rate is so high....
That's me clamming somewhere in New Jersey, and even saying that much is too much.