I nodded, but did not really expect the article to change my mind.
David Brooks is an all-terrain commentator which dispenses platitudes and opinions on a wide range of topics, usually with little depth or understanding. In my book, anyone that supported and amplified the very fishy evidence for going to war with Iraq has to go an extra mile to prove their worth - and he was specially gross when it came to it.
Considering that the best part about David Brook's writing is that they often prompt beautiful take downs from Matt Taibbi and that his columns have given rise to a cottage industry of bloggers that routinely point out just how wrong he is, my expectations were low.
Anyways, I did read the article.
While the tone of the article is a general disagreement with novel approaches to education, his prescription is bland and generic: you need some basic facts before you can build upon those facts and by doing this, you will become a wise person.
The question of course is just how many facts? Because it is one thing to know basic facts about our world like the fact that there are countries, and another one to memorize every date and place of a historic event.
But you won't find an answer to that on Brooks piece. If there is a case to be made to continue our traditional education and continue relying on tests to raise great kids, you will not find it here.
The only thing that transpires from the article is that he has not researched the subject - he is shooting from the hip. An action necessitated by the need to fill eight hundred words a short hour before lunch.
His contribution to the future of education brings as much intellectual curiosity as washing the dishes.
I rather not shove useless information into our kids. Instead we should fill their most previous years with joy and passion, and give them the tools to plot their own destinies. Raise curious, critical and confident kids.
Ones that when faced with a new problem opt for the more rewarding in-depth problem solving, one that will have them research, reach out to primary sources, and help us invent the future.
Hopefully we can change education and raise a happier, kinder and better generation of humans. The road to get there will be hard, and we need to empower the teachers and schools that want to bring this change.
Do not miss Ted Dintersmith's response to the article, my favorite part:
I agree with Brooks that some, perhaps even many, gain knowledge and wisdom over time. We just don’t gain it in school. It comes when we’re fully immersed in our careers, when we do things, face setbacks, apply our learning, and evolve and progress. But that almost always comes after our formal education is over. I interview a LOT of recent college graduates and I’m not finding lots of knowledge and wisdom. Instead, I find lots of student debt, fear of failure, and formulaic thinking. And what do I rarely see? Passion, purpose, creativity, and audacity.
So, game on, David Brooks and others defending the 19th Century model of education.