Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Encouragement of Literature, etc.

Wisdom, and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of legislatures and magistrates, in all future periods of this commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them; especially the university at Cambridge, public schools and grammar schools in the towns; to encourage private societies and public institutions, rewards and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings; sincerity, good humor, and all social affections, and generous sentiments among the people.

So says the Chapter 2, section 5 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts adopted on June 16th, 1780. From this brief statement (actually, one quite-long sentence as is the style of legal ease and parathetical personal comments) we arrive at the now bloated, bleeding (as in pouring out money, not necessarily a reflection of the teaching institutions churning out those liberal hearts), and broken system of public education in our state.

Industry and frugality? Yeah, right. Has anyone received a list of things that students must have in high school these days? TI-84 graphing calculators ($150-200) are all the rage. Screw knowing how to develop and envision the graph of a line in your head - just follow the calculator instructions and go! Using tools, which should take about 4 minutes to learn, has replaced the knowledge required to build new ones. And most disgustingly, personal industry has given way to community service.

I think they left out the inculcation of environmentalism, altruism, collectivism, and the complete overriding of personal judgement in the lower grades (everyone must be included).

Most importantly, however, this 228 year-old sentiment has warped from cherishing literature and science education in order to have a wise and knowledgable citizenry who will, in turn, be able to uphold our rights and liberties, into funding with individuals' tax dollars, institutionalized, one-size fits all, good citizenship education which will, in turn, guarantee future in-kind expectations and the self-feeding and incessant growth of the monster.


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