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Core Subjects?

I recently read in the newspaper about an elementary school that had been built fairly recently that had been built to include an art studio and a science lab. Sadly, if you guessed that these rooms were used for art and science you would be mistaken. These rooms were used for storage. Yes that’s right storage-students had never been allowed in these rooms, unfortunately just because you build a science lab or an art studio does not mean that you will actually have science or art teachers.

The problem is that Tennessee, like a lot of states, does not use art or science for school accountability purposes, meaning that these subjects are less likely to be taught. I would propose that states should instead mandate a common core of subjects that are taught not just in high school but in elementary school as well-including:

• Math
• English
• Social Studies
• Science
• Fine Arts
• Foreign/non-English Language
• Health/Wellness/physical education

By the way, the order should not be construed to indicate that one subject is more important than others; all of these should be taught at elementary, middle and high school levels. If we are really serious about preparing our students for the 21st century should we not spend less time on test prep activities which often cost several weeks out of the school year? Instead should we not invest instructional time in raising healthy kids who have real and useful knowledge of the 21st century world?

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