In this latest round of revisions on ICYMI, my editor queried if high school students would know what the Rosetta Stone was.
When something like this comes up, I go on social media and ask teens, HS teachers and media specialists for the answer. I also get answers from my peers who have kids of that age. What I found from this query was that everyone of my generation - ie/ graduated high school in 1980's or before had learned what the Rosetta Stone was in either middle school or high school.
Today - not so much. A few high schools yes. Most no. Some whose kids had been to London knew it, because they'd been to the British Museum.
Why is this?
Well, this might explain something.
I've written many, many many times about how the overemphasis on standardized testing is damaging education. But now, when we see candidates for the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATE making claims that the pyramids were built by Joseph for grain storage it's all the more important that our kids know about the Rosetta Stone - so they know that it was the key to deciphering hieroglyphics and can use their critical thinking skills to put two and two together to realize "No, Dr. Carson, we know your bizarre theory isn't true because the Egyptians WROTE THIS STUFF DOWN!"
We need to study history so that as we hear all the anti-immigrant rhetoric being bandied about by politicians about Syrian refugees, kids know about the tragic voyage of the SS St Louis, "The Voyage of the Damned", a shipload of Jews trying to escape Hilter's Germany who were refused by country after country and were forced to return to Europe - many to their death. If you haven't read it, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum put out a powerful statement yesterday:
When I write about the overemphasis on standardized testing and STEM, I inevitably get anonymous commenters on my political columns making statements like this with no evidence to back it up:
Except then you look at the evidence:
So we're narrowing the curriculum on the false premise that it pays. And meanwhile, we are taking away the very subjects that provide context and meaning. The subjects that help students develop empathy and theory of mind. The subjects that might prevent us from making the same mistakes we did in the past.