“You let them use profanity in their writing?”
George winced and who can blame him? These were 10-year-olds I was talking about, one in particular, Amanda, who’d written about her fight with a bully on the school bus. The bully had cussed her out and in her essay she quoted him with unblinking precision, raising — certainly in my neighbor’s mind (we were riding the train home together as I rattled on) — some alarming questions, e.g.: Truth is nice, but what about decency? And aren’t fifth-graders a little too young for academic freedom?
I’d put these questions another way: To what extent do children own their own lives? And, is there a pedagogical difference between guiding and herding?