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Should we force kids to learn material they don't show interest in?

As a college graduate I was thinking about how much material I have studied in all of my educational career and then promptly forgotten after the test. Is it a waste of time to try and learn something you are not interested in? To what extent should we allow educational autonomy?

There are a lot of different ways to be intelligent. Memorization and regurgitation are just one small facet.

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    Feb 4 2013: I disagree with the word "force". As a society we should teach K thru 12 students what is necessary to be functioning, critical-thinking, productive, law-abiding, tax-paying citizens. Extra-curricular activity aside, students cannot establish their own curriculum based on their current interests.
    • Feb 4 2013: Ok maybe force isn't the right word. The threat of getting bad grades isn't force. Although bad grades can be detrimental to one's future.

      I think if we really did a good job of teaching critical thinking we'd have a generation that refuses to pay their taxes. Haha .. I'm only slightly joking
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        Feb 6 2013: Hi Brian. I did not once envision 'force' for this particular subject as being used in the Medieval torture type of way, One could never learn that way. And for those that might have interpreted that way..... how about, strongly encourage??
        Cheers

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