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The Anti-Content Mindset Essay

There have been many debates on the issue of the American public education system. Bill Quirk, in his article entitled The Anti-Content Mindset: The Root Cause of the “Math Wars” in 2005 stresses that the strength of any society always depends on the quality of the “shared tradition of knowledge” that is passed on from one generation to another (Quirk 2005). According to him, “American schools need to teach children the core content associated with the foundational knowledge domains of English, mathematics, science, history, and geography.

(1)” The problem however is that so called “reformers” of the education system are rejecting the very concept of knowledge transmission by refusing to recognize a common core of knowledge that all kids should learn most especially math (Quirk 2005). The methods by the reformers employ, such as by considering teachers as merely “guides” for the students and tests as methods to “find out what each child has personally discovered (1)” are suppressing the shared tradition of knowledge and threatening the very core of American Schools.

The second problem according to Quirk is the fact that there is also a shortage of qualified teachers. Not only is the concept of a shared tradition of knowledge threatened by the changes that the “reformers” have instituted but it also threatened by the lack of qualified teachers who can help in brining back this lost tradition. The solution therefore is by ensuring that the teaching content is teachable and measurable. The teachers should also be “qualified”, meaning that they are happy to “deliver” standards-based lesson plans, with clearly identified learning objectives for every lesson (Quirk 2005).

The responsibility doesn’t end with the teachers however as children should also understand the importance of learning. With the wealth of information and the “power of modern technology”, the shared tradition of knowledge can be strengthened and improved for the benefit of not only the future students but of the whole nation as well. References: Quirk, Bill (2005) The Anti-Content Mindset: The Root Cause of the “Math Wars” retrieved on November 30, 2006 from, http://www. wgquirk. com/content. html

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