The Inside Rail

Two days after the Kentucky Derby and about eight hours after Gary West went on the Today Show and further muddied the water, I found myself trying to explain Derby.

My son Miles, halfway through his 4th grade 20-percent project (students can spend 20 percent of their time on a project of their choice), walked into the family room and tried to help.

“Dad, it’s like baseball…when you strike out…you can be…”

I brushed him off, delicately, but I brushed him off.

The following morning, up early while Miles slept, I leaned over the kitchen table and studied Miles’ 20-percent project on teachers. There it was. Right there in Miles’ left-handed, one-inch-per-letter, pencilmanship on poster board.

John Dewey was an original teacher. He beleived that students learn through experience, so school should be hands on. What are random facts going do for you later in life? He believed that school should be a learning experience for teachers as well as students. He said that schools rules should be like rules of a baseball game. “If someone strikes out they don’t say ‘This is not fair. I shouldn’t be allowed to strike out!’ No! They say I am unhappy that I struck out, but I will play by the rules.” John Dewey revolutionized teaching.

Oh, where is John Dewey when we need him?