Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

In Defense of Real Education

Dr. Mark Edmundson is a prizewinning scholar, author, and professor at the University of Virgina. He has a new book called Why Teach? He shares his perspectives on Students, parents, fellow professors, and institutions. He calls on professors to be “uncool”: to grade hard, and to challenge students, even though they may face fallout for it from today’s atmosphere of grade inflation and being nice to the students. He encourages parents to allow children to experience the “hard knocks of everyday life.” He emphasizes the necessary role of failure.

Dr. Edmundson says, “Real reading is… a higher form of conscientiousness.” He claims good literature allows one to experience “the joy of seeing the world through the eyes of people who … are more sensitive, more articulate, shrewder, more alive than they themselves are.” He says the “magic of words” unleashes the “power of imagination.” That is what students taught by Common Core Standards will miss because they have substituted so many informational texts instead of great literature.

The author criticizes group projects and classes that rely on the exchange of “student ideas.” Students don’t acquire the information that produces a worthwhile conversation. He also exhorts educators to stop “readings,” which are really deconstructing literary works from the perspectives of gender, race, Marxists, Freudian, and other artificial constructs that venture far from the author’s intent and show no respect for a book on its own merit.

The title of this book is Why Teach? In Defense of a Real Education by Dr. Mark Edmundson.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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