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Anti-Social Studies

09 Dec

I think I have finally discovered the nefarious source of my blogging mental block.

I have been happy.

I was being facetious in the post back in July when I said that I had run out of things to hate, but to a certain extent that appears to have been true. I have been walking around blissfully ignoring things that would normally whip me into a frothing rage.

I am not really sure why this was the case, but what I am sure of is that… my happy-go-lucky days are over. For you see, my friends, I have found my ire again. Turns out, it was hiding behind a Social Studies teacher.

I’d like to think that I’m generally a “live and let live” kinda guy and that, if you want to make idiotic choices like, for example, buying an Apple product, that is your prerogative and I will not judge you (to your face) for it.

I’d like to think that.

I’d also like to think that I can fly without the aid of wings, and make bacon magically appear with only a thought. But seeing as that is not the case, lets get real… in my blogging role, the world is reduced to black and white, right and wrong, me and everyone else. Get the picture?

So, yes, I will judge you and I will find you wanting. You cannot avoid it, so don’t try.

OK, enough with the preamble, and onto the topic of the entry…

Social Studies

The problem, in a nutshell, is this… my son has been spending an awful lot of time on homework this year. That, in and of itself, is not an issue. What has me in a huff is the fact that most of this homework is for Social Studies.

Lets not beat around the bush here, I’m just going to lay it out for you plain as can be. Social Studies, in my humble opinion, is about as useless as can possibly be. Have you ever heard anyone say “That is one of the best schools! Their Social Studies program is top-notch!”? I sincerely doubt it, and that is because… Social Studies is almost completely worthless.

There are four major disciplines in schools today: Math, Science, English and Social Studies. Now, let’s examine each discipline based upon its value to our children:

Math: This is the foundation for everything in the universe and is, without question, the most important subject in any school. Anyone that disagrees with this is a moron that probably plays Lotto.

Related jobs: Engineer, Actuary, CFO

Science: A close second to Math. Learning Science is not about learning the details; it’s about learning how to think. Something that is, sadly, in short supply.

Related jobs: Doctor, Research Scientist, Inventor

English: Spend five minutes speaking with an average child and that will make my argument for me here. If we let English education lapse any more our children will be communicating purely through clicks and grunts.

Related jobs: Author, Screenwriter, Poet.

And finally…

Social Studies: I don’t even know where to begin… We teach “Social Studies” which is, in fact, “History” to our children for far too many years. At some point, this subject simply becomes “Writing”, and any concrete skills that it provides should really be provided in an English class. Social Studies is basically the long-form regurgitation of useless facts.

Related jobs: Pizza Delivery Agent, French-Fry Chef, Social Studies Teacher.

Naturally, I have made my feelings known to any who would listen (and several who would rather not), and a few of these fine folks pointed out that they actually like Social Studies.

How lovely.

I like playing computer games; why isn’t that a major subject in school? Oh, that’s right… because nobody gives a shit what you like! This isn’t about what our children like, it’s about how to prepare our children for their future. My child will not get a better job because they did well in Social Studies unless they are destined for a career writing questions for Trivial Pursuit.

Oh, yeah… and let me address the worn-out defense of dusty old Social Studies professors the world around who constantly misquote George Santayana, who said:

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it

I can understand what George is saying and respectfully disagree. But the people who quote him use this as a shield to deflect any suggestion that the study of History is not the most important subject in the world. The problem I have here is that they are assuming that this quote means:

Those that remember the past are not condemned to repeat it

The number of examples that prove this to be a failed premise are so abundant that I don’t even need to list them. Just pick up a paper. History is repeated in every conflict over a patch of land or a religious view, and there are no shortage of those. Are you seriously going to argue that all these conflicts could have been avoided if only our world leaders had more education in History?

World Leader: They have oil. We want it. Let’s invade.
Advisor: Sir? That’s been done before.
World Leader: Really? Damn… ok, scrap that plan then. Let’s invade Canada instead, just for giggles.

I would like to amend George’s quote a bit to update it for the present:

Those who rely on history to decide their own future instead of thinking for themselves are condemned to be pretentious fact-spouting airbags who everyone hates and who will ultimately die alone unless you consider their cat.

Please go write a book that nobody will read and stop crapping on our children’s education.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2009 in Gripes

 

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