Sacred cows, phones and SATs

Manuel Taboada’s essays are not only humorous but also insightful. I clipped his May 17 essay titled “Some elephants become sacred cows” out of the paper and read it to my little grandkids and their parents. They blinked, blinked and rolled their eyes. His worries certainly reflect mine, or rather ours.

There is no denying cellphones are “a hurdle to basic education.” I can verify that. Even in my 6-year-old girl’s drawings, a phone (though non-live) is obviously her most prized possession. Parents, on the other hand, may deem it as a lifeline in emergencies (false or real).

It is truly a taxing task to teach the young. I tried to teach them the very basic math, and it feels like pulling their teeth. Comparatively, having a backyard water play is much more fun for all. I believe if college work were not so daunting, John Dewey’s “pragmatism” type of education would be desirable for all. Unfortunately, an SAT score landing in our mailbox later may, more often than not, serve as a rude awakening to the reality.

With its outcome crying out for review and revisions in the real world, experimenting, to a degree, on the “new” method of learning, or progressive movement, is still great.

Vicky Li,


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