A while ago, I went over to the Rye High School to donate a couple of new books to their library. I got quite a shock. They have no library. They are an educational institution without a library. They have a football team and a full athletic program, but no library. The administrative people explained that all of the kids have laptops. I suppose the school board believe that the students will learn from social media, or by diligently searching for information on the Internet. Anyone familiar with teenagers’ browsing habits will understand that the typical one may copy text from the web, but not learn much.
I’d guess that the elimination of their library is a cost-saving measure. So much for knowledge, research, culture and philosophy. An educational necessity is removed, and a play item, the sports program, is retained.
The United States is well behind the developed world in education. Overall, China, South Korea and Finland lead the pack. From an article in the Business Insider, “The results from the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), show that teenagers in the U.S. slipped from 25th to 31st in math since 2009; from 20th to 24th in science; and from 11th to 21st in reading, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, which gathers and analyzes the data in the U.S.”
After my visit to the Rye High School, I went to Lake Isabel for a walk with my dog, Buffy. My habit is to pick up trash along the lakeside path and carry it up to the dumpers in the picnic ground. I found a neat cluster of crushed coca cola cans. They were patriotic red, white and blue. I carried them 200 yards or so to the dumpers. So we have football, patriotic trash left by the path for pickup by some neatnik, but no library in a High School. Wonderful! If you feel America is falling behind in the world, you’re probably right.