An anonymous reader writes "MAKE Magazine founder Dale Dougherty has an article in Slate about how educators are missing the punchline when it comes to getting kids interested in learning. He describes a recent visit he made to a middle school: 'The science lab was empty, as were the library and the playground. It was not a school holiday: It was a state-mandated STAR testing day. The school was in an academic lockdown. This is what the American public school looks like in 2012, driven by obsessive adherence to standardized testing. The fate of children, their schools, and their teachers are based on these school test scores.' Dougherty's preference would be to more tightly integrate basic engineering projects into the science curriculum. 'I see the power of engaging kids in science and technology through the practices of making and hands-on experiences, through tinkering and taking things apart. Schools seem to have forgotten that students learn best when they are engaged; in fact, the biggest problem in schools is boredom. Students sit passively, expected to absorb all the content that is thrown at them without much context. The context that's missing is the real world."