A Century of Skills Movements

Diane Ravitch's blog

I wrote about this topic in 2010. Year after year, decade after decade, some educational “authority” tells us that the world is changing fast, and that the schools must teach useful skills, not academic knowledge. The article appeared in the AFT’s American Educator magazine in spring 2010.

If I were to rewrite the article today, I would add the Common Core to the list, because it is a collection of skills without content. Because it is mandated in so many states and tied to high-stakes tests, subjects like history, civics, and science get short shrift. Even literature gets short shrift, because students are taught to read short passages without context. Teachers have reported that they no longer teach novels or poetry, to meet the demands of the Common Core for close reading.

If I were to revise the article, I would change its tone to acknowledge the value of the…

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