Regular readers know that BIPPS has major concerns about the proposed revision to Kentucky’s social studies standards. Aside from some strange and possibly legally troubling omissions that indicate the people writing the revised standards don’t really understand Kentucky’s School-Based Decision Making system, the proposal essentially depersonalizes history.
Many prominent national leaders like Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, John Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and a host of others are never once mentioned in the highly deficient revision.
Others, like civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., are also completely ignored.
Without question, it looks like the amazing human inventive spirit in America and elsewhere is going to get scant, if any, attention.
Totally absent are the names of all inventors from all time. Among the many missing are such creative giants as Alexander Graham Bell and his telephone, the Wright Brothers and the first successful powered airplane, Samuel Morse and his telegraph and George Westinghouse, whose safety air brakes are still in massive use today.
Franklin’s scientific achievements, such as the lightning rod, are also as absent as his name in this deficient blueprint for Kentucky social studies. Also absent is any discussion of Gutenberg’s printing press and Janssen and his microscopes.
One more major inventor, who originally hailed from Italy, also gets the ax in Kentucky’s proposed standards. He is Guglielmo Marconi, whose experiments and practical developments in the area of radio telegraphy marked a crucial improvement in man’s ability to communicate quickly to anywhere. Marconi’s discoveries set the stage for the smart phones, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, satellite TV and radio, Global Positioning Systems, and wireless computer networking of today.
Two of my correspondents, Jamie Gass and Ze’ev Wurman, just posted a great article titled “Gass and Wurman: The lessons historically significant inventors offer,” and it provides a nice overview of Marconi and the implications of his important inventions.
Gass and Wurman do something more, however, pointing to the fact that Marconi wasn’t locked in by the limitations an education system that would not have met his needs. Instead, Marconi gained his unique understanding of math and physics as a result of his parents’ conscious efforts to select the best possible education choice for their son. It was a school choice success story, one few Kentuckians can enjoy today due to the selfishness of those who want kids locked into a one-size-must-fit-all education system.
But, one size doesn’t fit every child today any better than it would have fit Marconi, and the world might be a much less interesting place if Marconi had not benefitted from school choices.