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Lincoln Lesson

December 29, 1985

The flap over Lincoln High's proposed curriculum is a classic example of our school district's insistence on making major decisions without meaningful involvement from the people who will be affected.

I don't think that Latin would have been the Lincoln High community's remedy for low test scores and students dropping out of school. School is already like Latin to too many students. That's why they flunk and quit.

As far as whether or not a broad liberal arts education that emphasized reading and writing is better than a vocational-oriented curriculum that sometimes "pigeonholes" minorities, I can only say: Why pit one curricular area against another?

There's a place for both liberal arts and vocational courses in a learning environment. What's important is to make sure that students are encouraged to pursue their true interests and talents so they can become all that they can be.

The plans at Lincoln call for staffing it with creative and enthusiastic administrators and teachers, although someone has already done most of the preliminary work for them. This is like naming the main characters and charting a plot for a story, then calling on a Pulitzer Prize-winning author to write the book. Creative minds should be involved in the beginning.

I hope creativity is used in getting to know the Lincoln students as human beings (sometimes going out to the alleys and hangouts where some of them are) as well as students, and finding out what is on their minds (individually and collectively)--and then making their educational experiences relevant to their lives and their hopes and dreams.


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