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Jim's Jottings


Mandatory curriculum in schools is a bad idea in my book



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September 21, 2011 - Following is a column written by Richard Milliman that I tend to favor.

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Certain school orders ordained on high don't make much sense in the real world.

Mandatory curriculum, in my book, is a bad idea.

Requiring every student in Michigan to take the same set of courses, all designed to prepare the students for college, is highly questionable.

Many students are mystified by math, yet it must be crammed down each student throat. The same is true for science, or composition, or foreign language -- any foreign language.

The theory behind mandatory curriculum is that schools must prepare students with a college education for them to compete or even survive in a global computer and electronic based society.

Some students, however, do not fit that preconceived mode. Each student is an individual, and each student should be considered and educated as an individual.

Not every student wants or needs a college diploma. Not every student is suited for college. With the way college costs have skyrocketed, not every student can afford to attend college.

If every student becomes a computer genius, who is going to perform the services society requires in a different stratum of everyday living?

We need good and talented mechanics and factory workers, good and talented nurses and cooks, good and talented electricians and roofers and dry cleaners and cosmeticians and a whole host of other non-degreed persons in addition to the nuclear scientist and the neurologist and outer space exploration teams.

A square peg still does not fit into a round hole. So it is with individual students and mandatory curriculum.

State and national leaders continually preach that education is our most important product, that our young people are the hope of the future, that schools and the means of education must ever be nurtured.

Yet these same decision makers have been drastically reducing or withdrawing the public dollar support which make education possible.

Too often the very reason for schools -- the students themselves -- are neglected, ignored or completely forgotten when decisions affecting them are made.

Schools should be for kids.

(Dick Milliman lives in Lansing. He was Governor Romney's press secretary and speech writer and owned several daily and weekly newspapers from Three Rivers to Grayling. I've followed his "Almanak" column for over 50 years.)

. . . And now, Jottings.

• Really looked at Hillary lately? She's showing some aging, while husband Bill is unwrinkled. One is obviously worry free.

• Mice got into my bread/cracker drawer. They, assuming there was more than one, chewed into the bread wrapper and ate my Ritz and Club crackers, but didn't eat any saltines. Caught one, but when I opened the trap it jumped to the floor and gone was before I could alert Shayna.

• The Indians are out to stop moose hunting. That's ok with me, but do Indian "rights" and "tribal law" ever expire?

• I've used Old Spice deodorant for years, though some don't believe me. Their latest commercial says it "smells better than yourself." Hey, dummy, that's why we wear the stuff.

• Love these cooler days. Maybe I can get more than one day's wear from a shirt. Ironing ain't my thing, and I don't always look for the iron free label.

Jim Sherman, Sr. is president of Sherman Publications, Inc. He has penned "Jim's Jottings" since 1955.
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