Copybooks for All

My kids started school a week ago (finally). It is of note that they resurfaced and re-striped the parking lot over the summer. This caused a certain amount of chaos, but it was a wise investment that will improve conditions in the long run. This post isn’t actually about that, though.

My kids have classes in history, english, math, and more. I am to provide a copybook for each distinct subject–a separate, individual copybook where my son and daughter will write useful information and things worth remembering about each subject.

Sadly, most of the time this is the case. Interdisciplinary explanations, connections, and impacts from one related subject to another (history and social studies, for example) go largely unexplained and unexplored at the elementary level, which I would argue is the best time to teach about those connections. Language and math and history and art and politics cannot be cleanly separated, and to do so leaves our kids at a disadvantage.

In the “real” world, do we operate differently?

Planners plan walkable (or drivable) cities.
Architects design green buildings and contractors build them.
Engineers create complete, green streets.
Parking and transportation professionals plan and operate assets to access said cities, buildings, and streets.

Few organizations, courses, or programs address not only these honorable endeavors, but also the complex relationships, synergies, and conflicts among them. Sustainability and smart growth can serve as that umbrella concept, but what more can we do?

To IPI’s credit, through its Parking Matters® program and other industry outreach efforts and alliances, inroads are being made so related professions take a more holistic approach that includes parking.

But we have much ground to cover. We do what we learn early in life.  We have learned to silo these “subjects.” I would rather be under the colorful umbrella that captures the nuances and relationships of the subjects we learn, and the work we do.

I, for one, would support a change in that paradigm, from Kindergarten all the way up to CAPP!

 

About Rachel Yoka

Rachel Yoka, LEED AP BD+C, is vice president of Timothy Haahs & Associates. She serves on the IPI Advisory Council, Consultants Committee, and Sustainability Committee, and is Chair of the Certification Committee and member of the board of the Green Parking Council.

Comments

  1. Casey Jones says:

    Thanks for your post Rachel. You touch upon a key challenge not just in elementary school but in our work life as well. Our school district and many others across the country are in the process of implementing common core standards instruction that ties all of the disciplines together and teaches from the same syllabus. This is forcing a more comprehensive approach to learning and one that builds critical thinking skills in place of rote memorization. If we can learn from our children’s experience perhaps it’s not too late to pull this thinking into our adult lives and work world.

  2. Nina Arron says:

    Hi Rachel,
    Exactly! My PhD topic is about broad social and economic goals of cities and how walkability plays into these goals. One of the points I make is that walkability is generally confined to a department of transportation or traffic and that street design generally is not considered by the economic development teams within City Hall, nor panning for such programs as aging in place.
    Thanks for raising this!
    Nina

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