[FoRK] High school curriculum (was: Milestones toward the end of religion)

Luis Villa luis.villa
Mon Jan 2 13:09:49 PST 2006

On 12/27/05, Russell Turpin <deafbox at hotmail.com> wrote:
> "Corinna" <corinna.schultz at gmail.com>:
> >I think high school need two major changes to
> >their curriculum: make computer science (and discrete math) a math course
> >(satisfying the math
> >requirements to graduate), and make philosophy (epistemology, at the very
> >least) a social studies course.
> If I were to wave my magic wand and make one
> change to the mandatory curriculum, it would be
> to add a course on business and economics. Most
> of our high school graduates have no more
> understanding of the environment in which they
> must then thrive or languish than they do of the
> rain forest. But pre-agricultural tribes in the rain
> forest are not so foolish as to wait until their kids
> are 18 before teaching them how to hunt or
> what plants are safe to eat.


Other adjustments: replace most HS math and physics with programming.
The percentage of students who will ever need calculus is staggeringly
small; the percentage who will derive any use from geometry smaller
still. Understanding of computers is a necessity for everyone, and
teaches the same kinds of logical reasoning that a good math course

I'd drop at least one year of english/lit and replace it with media
creation and comprehension- every kid should be doing film and TV
studies, and ideally creating such content. The current high school
curriculum is a polite fiction that pretends that our children get all
of their information from the written word, when vast swathes of the
population gets most of their information from TV, and many people
communicate more via power point than by the long-form essays taught
in high schools. I'm not saying I *like* that situation, but we're
better off preparing kids for it than pretending it isn't the case.
And hell, if kids were taught to distinguish better between shitty TV
and good TV, and shitty powerpoint from good powerpoint, there might
be more good stuff.

I'd probably also resculpt the average two year bio+chem sequence into
an environment/ecology course, with the necessary bio and chemistry
interwoven where necessary to explain the bigger concepts.

If I really wanted to stretch, I'd drop most art courses and replace
them with courses in design.


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