Idiot alert: Rage against the vegetable garden
by Meg White BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS 1/15/2010
“In the current issue of The Atlantic, Caitlin Flanagan blasts the use of vegetable gardens as a learning tool in public schools as an uppity, vaguely racist tool to subjugate children to manual labor and unfairly deprive them of the Three R’s.
Flanagan has a serious bone to pick with California’s Edible Schoolyard program, founded by celebrity chef Alice Waters. She insists something about education is polluted when, in math class students learn to measure dimensions by preparing a garden plot. But if the skill set is the same, what’s wrong with teaching an illiterate kid how to spell “botany,” or teaching chemistry by testing the acidity of local soil? Isn’t building a rainwater catchment system — as an innovative way to teach geography, math and ecology all at once — an opportunity too good to pass up?
Nope. Flanagan argues it’s more important students learn how to write “a coherent paragraph on The Crucible.” Part of her resistance comes from her apparent view that scoring high on exit exams is a means to overall educational success, rather than the other way around. I will grant her that: Teaching to the test is harder to do in a garden.”