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Your Views: US academics are based too heavily on language skills
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A pizza box, one red cup, dirt, water, flower seeds, a paint brush and a couple of pieces of red foam were used and the total cost was zero dollars. Almost all of the items were in the supply cabinet. Watching someone use a little old-style pantomime with the items was priceless.

For most of my life, I have been involved with a group at my local church that encourages creativity. Over the years, I have seen a lot of things pressed into service in order to enhance the classroom experience. The leaders of this group understand that every child is different and that stimulating creativity involves a variety of approaches.

Having an understanding that students learn at different speeds and in different ways is essential for any effective teacher. Yet, current public policy on the national level says that one size fits all. There are many ways to demonstrate intelligence, but national policy only recognizes one. Language skills dominate every aspect of education.

Even the SAT is so language-based that it blends work problems into the math section of the test. Scoring within a higher percentile on the test means being able to translate words into mathematical expressions.

Students with excellent math or other technical skills can find themselves sinking in a language-dominated system.

This singe-minded approach isn't working. Recent reports indicate that our students are falling behind on the world stage. Our national response is to wonder aloud why the rest of the world is producing more graduates with technical skills. Solutions to the problem include an expansion of standards that are already failing. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result isn't a healthy way to live.

Politicians on the national level need to reconsider their attempts at micromanagement and maybe consider their timely exit out of the classroom. We don't need for every child to be diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. I would hope that giving our students drugs to maintain a learning zone isn't the answer. Every student deserves a positive experience in the classroom. Let our teachers teach.

We have the finest teachers in the world in our public schools, and they know how to teach. I would love to hear that an innovative teacher used a marshmallow cannon to help students visualize forces and predict outcome. Our whole society depends on our teachers and the quality of their input.

Maybe one day, we'll hear that a pizza box and other things were used to say, "I planted; Apollos watered; but God gave the increase (1 Corinthians 3.6)."

Mickey F. Maddox
Gainesville

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