Happy birthday, Jack!

When I read this article from GOOD, I immediately thought of C.S. Lewis, born on this day in 1898. From the article, which reviews a study that says the dropout rate might connected to the a 6th grade “cataclysmic shift,” from elementary to middle school.

Students in the study experienced a “sharp drop” in math and language arts when they moved to sixth grade—unlike their peers who attended the same school from kindergarten to eighth grade.

It’ll be interesting to see if the education establishment can make this about testing, too. Clearly, the situation depends on far more than simple academic achievement. I don’t know if saving 6th graders will prove the magic bullet for lowering the dropout rate, but the study does suggests that academic year might be–dare I say it?–a tipping point for students. I submit that the study also suggests that we need education for the heart, not just the head.

Oh, and Lewis? I thought of his essay “Men without Chests,” in The Abolition of Man:

We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and then bid the geldings to be fruitful.

Can we say much better of our schools, almost 7 decades on?


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