Protecting Childhood and the Purpose of School

David Mitchell, Douglas Gerwin, Ernst Schuberth, Michael Mancini, and Hansjörg Hofrichter

Picture a breezy spring morning at the beach. White-tipped waves roll rhythmically up the sand, washing away footprints like a blackboard eraser on a classroom blackboard. A group of children on a school outing marches purposefully along the shore through the edge of the frothy waves. A couple of eager kids stride out in front. The teacher walking along with the main group of the class notices that one of the boys is lagging behind. The teacher slows her step to find out why this child is not keeping up with his class.

There are several possibilities:

1.    The child is unable to keep up with the group due to some disability, physical or emotional, or simply exhaustion from
        lack of sleep or nourishment;
2.    The child is unwilling to keep up with the group due to a lack of interest or, perhaps, a surfeit of distractions along the
        way; or
3.    The child does not know how to keep up with the group, possibly because he is new to this experience and has not
        been taught how to hold his balance against the waves.

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