In a recent article on Forbes online, John Converse Townsend--who has been thinking and writing about the importance of empathy for Ashoka for over a year now--describes a reawakening to the skill's importance. In the first paragraph of the piece, he writes:
Empathy matters. And it needs to be taught in schools. I’ve seen, read and written this before, but I wasn’t quite convinced until earlier this week when I plugged into an episode of “This American Life” on a bus to New York City. Episode 474: Back to School.
Cognitive development has been the absolute focus of education for as long as I, or host Ira Glass, can remember. Test scores for reading and math are not just how students are graded, but also how their schools are evaluated, most notably since 2001 with the passing of the No Child Left Behind Act, which mandates universal “proficiency” by 2014 with penalties for those schools which are unable to reach state standards—standards many schools seem unable to reach. This has to change.
Education writer and broadcaster Paul Tough broke it down on air for Ira Glass like this: “Well, I’m definitely not saying that none of that stuff matters at all. I’m saying that we have put way too much emphasis on it, and especially in the early years.”
Photo is courtesy of albertogp123