Flutterby™! : decline and fall of American education

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decline and fall of American education

2006-05-25 15:32:54.253726+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

Went to a talk last night by Elena J. Hanuse[Wiki] over at the San Geronimo Valley Community Center. Back in 1984, at the age of 52, Elena set off across the country on foot, a thirty nine hundred mile eighteen month journey she wrote about in One Step At A Time: My 18-Month Walk Across America[Wiki]. When she's not being a strong part of the community here in the valley, she's now traveling around the country in a small camper, still finding stories and talking to people.

But one of the things she mentioned was how much more closed and isolating schools have become in the intervening twenty years, how schools used to be a fantastic place to meet and talk with people, and now they're carefully guarded and strangers (like her) are kept as far away as possible. And then this morning I see this story: Physics teacher under fire for gun experiment: Parent's complaint raises issue about legality of stunt.

Every year, physics teacher David Lapp brings his Korean War era M-1 carbine to school, fires a shot into a block of wood and instructs his students to calculate the velocity of the bullet.

Fantastic demo. Gets the attention of the kids. Makes physics fun. And yet some busybody whiner of a parent complains, not because it's a physics demo, but because it's an ohmygod scary freaky firearm. Sheesh.

[ related topics: Children and growing up History Pyrotechnics Community Guns ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-05-26 13:46:59.839293+00 by: petronius

This month's Wired (sorry, no link available) has a sad story about the decline of the chemistry set. Apparently half the ingredients in an old Gilbert set from the 60s are now illegal, and companies selling things like potassium perchorate in small lots are getting raided by the Consumer Products Safety Commission, which is afraid antisocial teens are building WMD cherry bombs for the Fourth of July. In Texas you must register with the state to purchase an Erlenmeyer Flask. Why? Because hillbillies are using them to brew up meth.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-05-26 17:19:26.39463+00 by: ziffle

Had the opportunity to fire an M1 last weekend - went to a 'divorce is over' party - nice gun!

Read Thomas Sowells "The Decline of American Education" recently - its a mess - and I mean we used to buy blackpowder and bb's for the bb gun at the local seven eleven store - I am sorry todays children can't blow stuff up like we did! Now a days they have to wear bicycle helmets... think I'll drive home without a seat belt just to strike a blow against the establishment :)