Pubdate: Sat, 29 Apr 2000
Source: Arizona Daily Star (AZ)
Copyright: 2000 Pulitzer Publishing Co.
Author: David Smith
Note: headline by Star editor


Re: the April 19 editorial titled, "Recite this."

While I, too, question the wisdom of state-mandated morals, I hardly
agree that having students recite the preamble to the Declaration of
Independence is "dumb" or "shameful."  I can think of nothing more
appropriate, other than the three "R's," for children to learn.  It
is, after all, the basic philosophy of our freedom and form of government.

As to the effectiveness of the rote learning method, there are
teaching techniques that can heighten comprehension, such as relating
the lesson to the students' real-life experiences.  To take the
preamble out of the past and make the recitation more meaningful, they
could conduct it during school lockdowns, while paramilitary drug
squads and their dope dogs search students' and teachers' lockers and
belongings. Or perhaps when the students or teachers are submitting
their urine or hair samples for drug testing.

Maybe then, the teachers can try to explain "unalienable rights,"
"life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," and the difference
between theory and practical application.

David Smith
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake