Putting liberal back in liberal education

Heinlein once wrote, “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
I am watching my students grapple with the standards for their individual districts and seeing that the teachable moments seem to slip by more frequently in their classes. Who could not stop a science class to discuss the energy of an 8.8 earthquake?
Perhaps more troubling is the trend to get kids in 7th grade select a career focus that will dictate their 5 year high school plan. What happened to nurturing interest and exploring diverse fields to find one that captures our attention. Our rich history of innovation is built on the shoulders of folks who were engaged with rich literature, writing, science, dance, art, music, and math. When we begin to define education by the mimimums we are on shaky ground.

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