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Poplin Plan for Education

October 13, 1986

I would like to respond to two points in your article about Mary Poplin's program for upgrading public education ("Educator Mary Poplin Hears Sound of Students" by John Dreyfuss, Sept. 17). The first is Poplin's emphasis on tailoring curricula to the interests of children; the second is the assertion of her associate, Paul Albrecht, of a need to help students develop strong "technological skills."

I graduated from college in 1970, just as the tailored curriculum notion (as manifest in minority studies programs and the like) was beginning to take hold. Thus I was among the last victims of a system that imposed requirements like reading, writing and arithmetic on innocent children without so much as a by-your-leave.

To make a long story short, I ultimately came to the point of having to earn a living with only a music degree and the three Rs as currency. It was then that I made a truly remarkable discovery: If you can read, you possess the great-granddaddy of technological skills.

The other thing you need is the persistence to go into an area of inquiry that is not initially interesting to you. This was the greatest value of the untailored curricula of yesteryear. They gave us the discipline to tackle things that weren't always interesting at first glance, and the chance to discover that many rewarding things don't give themselves up without an investment on our part.

MARGARET DAUGHERTY

El Segundo

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