We go on a lot about whether government money can fix things, if vouchers can work, what the future innovations can look like, what would make them possible. We don't reach consensus very often, and it's unclear whether or not we should. It makes me wonder if I'm doing any good by participating on this blog if I just go back again over the same arguments, returning to the same points we've made before. Even when I agree with others, I've found I am busy negating arguments instead of finding new solutions. So, what then, am I doing that's valuable? What is KTM doing that's valuable?
One big way in which KTM is valuable was so obvious to me that I overlooked it. KTM is a keeper of the flame of What Works. When everyone else has forgotten what curricula worked, what methods worked, what subjects were supposed to be taught, and how they were taught, this blog will recall.
We're now at least two generations into an education establishment that has eradicated the idea of direct instruction of students in subject areas. Two generations now means no one knows that reading or literature used to be rigorous; that grammar was once taught to schoolchildren. Two generations where no one knows the simplest algorithms for helping children master basic math facts. Two generations of no direct knowledge of the value of a comprehensive liberal arts education.
Ed schools are busy burning every copy of every wheel left in existence. The teachers themselves have never heard of this odd invention, because they've been taught by ones who never used it.
Someday, parents, teachers, school administrators, whomever, are going to start looking again for the wheel. They are going to start asking "What subjects should be taught? How can they be taught efficiently?" This blog has done more to promote the answers to those questions in every subject than anything other institution. KTM is a living museum, in the best sense of the word. Who else out there is performing this service? KTM is a virtual monastery that doesn't need to cloister itself to keep the truth alive. We need more of them, but having even one will be a necessity for parents in the future. Every time we find another answer, another subject that was taught, can be taught, and find references to the materials themselves so we can teach it again, we're saving a kid in a future generation. Even if we never can find a way to save them from the schools we've got now.