School reforms

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I spotted an article about BASIS, a network of public charter schools, in Monday’s Wall Street Journal; it caught my eye because the Brooklyn outpost is set to open in my old neighborhood, Red Hook.

I’m as concerned with giving kids a rigorous education as the next biliophile, though I found the school’s suspicion of art and music, and its notion that recess is “symbolic of frivolity,” a bit bizarre — surely there’s room for some fun, physical activity, and, dare I say, social education, in an ordinary schoolday?

I was, however, interested to read that BASIS encourages students to use a pen and paper:

While tablets may be introduced, [the school’s founder] said, students will be encouraged to do some things — like tracking homework — in physical notebooks instead of online. It makes them “really responsible,” he said.

Based on the article, my guess is that the plan is driven as much by cost as by pedagogy (BASIS is planning to charge students a cheap-only-by-New-York-standards $23,500 a year to attend), but no matter. In that, at least, they have my endorsement.

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