Education Letter to the Editor

Why Lessons From Military Won’t Work in Schools

October 29, 2007 1 min read

To the Editor:

Hugh B. Price’s Commentary “Demilitarizing What the Pentagon Knows About Educating Young People” (Oct. 3, 2007) correctly asserts that the military does “reach, teach, and develop young people who are rudderless.” But applying the lessons Mr. Price outlines in traditional schools won’t be nearly as successful.

I remember from my own military experience long ago that nearly all of what we were taught was directly and obviously relevant to the challenges we might face in the very near future, including staying alive. Much of the learning was “real world” and “hands on,” and, in a way, fun. We were taught to fill a specific role in a military unit.

For the kids Mr. Price is worried about, the traditional public school curriculum is irrelevant and even alien because the emphasis is solely on academic abstractions.

Ronald A. Wolk

Warwick, R.I.

The writer is the founding editor of Education Week and the chairman of the board of its parent organization, Editorial Projects in Education.

A version of this article appeared in the October 31, 2007 edition of Education Week as Why Lessons From Military Won’t Work in Schools