We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
An interesting topic. There is no doubt that schools are there to do the things that parents are not equipped to do or might not have time to do: acculturation, academic skills, some practical skills. Foundations for life.
The author's son's teacher who counted his son's answer for which simple machine he should use to lift a grown man blamed the testing regimen but I think it was the teacher who should have either framed the question to get the proper answer or allowed multiple answers. I don't see how knowing multiple ways of doing something would make it harder for the kid to do a standardized test.
The author disdains rote learning but I think it has a place - especially in the early grades for things like spelling, grammar, punctuation rules, and arithmetic tables. Having to think about all that stuff later just slows you down, it's better to know it without thinking about it.
He also disdains learning about factoring, quadratic equations, etc. Again, in primary grades, the student might not know what he wants to do so a grounding in a broad range of topic that can prepare him for most things - especially STEM subjects - is a good thing, I think.
I would add civics to the core competencies. It is even more important in the US where our country is as much of an idea as a geographical area. Those ideas should be explained and our history should be taught so that both our successes and failures are illuminated honestly.
Having said that, I think he made some excellent points. Being a fossil and tending to think the way I did was the best way (well, for some things), I tend to think that the major problems with schools today are from the ridiculous 'reforms' instituted by the education establishment that is dominated by the left. The author didn't dissuade me from that view but he did open my eyes to some reforms that actually hold promise. My guess is that the people graduating from our education schools are not equipped to implement these reforms (e.g. the author's son's teacher) and a lot of the reform should also happen in the education schools.
It reminds me of a point I forgot to make: that part of the job of education is to exercise one's mind. I believe the act of thinking in different ways expands the brain's capability so that even if you never use algebra, you benefit from doing it.
My biggest complaint about my son's public school is that it ignores physical fitness training.
Sure, there're the seasonal pageants of sports. The kids muddle through them, and they get oodles of shiny awards and ribbons to show for their "participation." We have drawers full of them, going back to second and third grades.
But white fourth-place ribbons make a flimsy hide for academic failure: As with all things in academe, the hard work of teaching physical fitness is blunted by today's "only if it feels good" therapeutic society.
For instance, the kids can never be taught how to stretch properly. Since it is pain that tells a child when he's reached the limit of any tendon's stretch (because it h-u-r-t-s), then, by definition, any practical instructor in physical education risks being accused of "abusing" children whenever she practices the basics of physical therapy - stretching, that is, on any one of America's tens of millions of atrophied urban children.
And believe me, the kids marinading in these schools (and watching the news) have learned to be quick to complain about any and all "pain" to parents, guardians, and whoever they think might listen.
Same goes with aerobic fitness and endurance training. If their aerobic fitness needs work (and most of our tech-addicted, cage-raised, doughy-riff boys-and-girls' do), our government schools can never push the children to experience the pain and subsequent improvement that accompanies long periods of exercise - and that is REQUIRED to improve students physical condition.
No, to administer pain, in any form, be it emotional pain (such as that transmitted by a dull stare, a bad grade, or other 'microaggression') or physical pain (like the "OH God, I'm gonna die!" pain that precedes the 'second wind' phase of the body's reaction to prolonged exercise) to their captive wards is strictly verboten in today's government schools.
To close, much of what ails young people today, like social media addiction, laziness, bad posture and eating habits, hidden congenital maladies, and lack of enterprise, would have been cured by testing their physical fitness and social skills under the duress of endurance training in grade schools.
Sadly, as the rules are written for America's campus Commisars today, if you're looking to our government campuses to provide real education, I'm afraid you're looking in the wrong place.