K–12: The Life and Death of the Mind

The life of the mind.  This lovely phrase states what education is supposed to be about.  All things bright and cerebral.  Play chess.  Write a story.  Devise a plan for any goal.  Weigh evidence for and against any proposal.  Note that you could be perfectly still.  These activities occur inside the brain. Hannah Arendt (1906–1975) wrote a book about the contemplative life, about thinking itself.  Her title was The Life of the Mind.  The phrase provides an elegant way to gauge the success of our public schools.  Good schools enlarge the life of the mind.  Bad schools do the opposite. Perversely, and to a startling degree, our K–12 schools encourage the death of the mind.  The strategy is straightforward.  Discredit and eliminate the traditional basics — reading, arithmetic, knowledge, and the discipline to use...(Read Full Article)
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