Monday, January 11, 2010

Is the theory behind school gardens valid?

Caitlin Flanagan’s article in The Atlantic, Cultivating Failure, is rubbing lots of people the wrong way. Blogs are buzzin’ and the Twittosphere is a flutter with heated opinions. Basically Flanagan contends that the school garden movement makes promises that it can’t keep or confirm and that it’s not a good idea to change school curricula drastically based on a fad. She says it is “predicated on a set of assumptions that are largely unproved, even unexamined”. She also bluntly asserts that Alice Waters of the Edible Schoolyard has been largely responsible for launching this movement without any evidence that the kind of learning that may come from these gardening experiences in schools is a valid substitute for the classes it replaces. Flanagan asserts that Waters has no educational background, yet she admits that Waters enjoys support from Delaine Easton, the California State Superintendent of instruction.