10/10: Should schools teach math, not empathy?

Moderated by Maureen Downey

If there are hot buttons in education, we press them today with a guest column on whether schools are shills for liberal causes and whether school bullying programs teach children to be victims. In her column, Mary Grabar says schools should teach math and reading, not empathy.

And a bullying expert says school interventions may worsen bullying, not stop it. Read what they have to say and then comment below.

7 comments Add your comment


October 10th, 2011
3:46 pm

Agree with the above poster…..values like empathy should be taught at home, by parents…..schools are not parents!!!

This is too funny

October 10th, 2011
2:52 pm

We actually expect school systems with a notoriously retaliatory culture such as APS to teach about bullying?


But then again, Maureen says retaliation is a rare occurrence, hardly worth mentioning.

Can’t remember if that was before or after she said Beverly Hall should remain at the helm of APS for the “stability” she provides.

Bully for Maureen! Yet another opportunity to “blame teachers first” for not addressing yet another of society’s problems.

Old School Dad

October 10th, 2011
2:37 pm

Teaching empathy is like teaching diversity, or teaching respect; not possible. As has been noted in other posts, to whom do we leave the task of defing the bully/victim relationship. When bullying becomes physical, there are rules (in some instances, laws) to deal with problem. Same with verbal abuse; when it prevents learning, the verbal abuser needs to be sanctioned as a disruptive element in the classroom. Cultural values have no place in a classroom beyond the academic study of different values.


October 10th, 2011
2:24 pm

Values like that are supposed to be learned in the home. One can only imagine how the government would define ‘empathy’. We got a little taste recently when the Cobb County schools tried to force feed empathy for Muslims to their kids.


October 10th, 2011
1:38 pm

Empathy should be taught at home. If it’s not, then the remedy likely won’t take place in school.


October 10th, 2011
1:07 pm

I see these situations as “both and.” Certainly the schools should focus on quality teaching of math and reading, but also empathy. Our society has become increasingly violent, so creating opportunities for students to better understand themselves and their peers, and how to work together, would seem just as critical a mission as increased test scores.

Similarly, I agree that victims need help learning how to “deal with” bullies, but to permit bullying without consequences to the bully, is to diminish the academic goals of the school. How can a child as a victim do his/her best in school if the learning environment is of fear or dread?

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