US public education has been retreating into an ever-narrower curriculum for several decades, and the early casualties have been programs that involve kinesthetic experiences and the manipulation of materials: arts, physical education, music, and particularly crafts like woodworking, nutrition and food preparation, drafting, sewing, and metalworking.
Not that many of these terminated programs were all that terrific, mind you. There was often a tendency to drain the arts of emotional content; turn music into memorization; and compartmentalize crafts as “vocational education,” where skills were taught in isolation, devoid of intellectual content and context. When John Dewey called for “learning by doing,” he probably had in mind something more imaginative than seventh graders churning out cookie cutter bookshelves without ever thinking about why we read books, or how trees grow, or our relationship to the natural world.
Read the rest at What I Learned in the Charleston Jail – Energy Bulletin