"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

See Jane run. Run Jane run. Far away from today's teaching methods.

Look Sally look.
Here is a post from a teacher in the trenches:

This is a story I am hearing over and over again from today's teachers in the public school systems. Read the comments from the readers. It paints a bleak picture of current students and school systems.

I leave you with these questions: Do any of you seriously think students will achieve better results with more federal mandates and new theories? Why are we paying for failing schools? Do we work for the government or does the government work for us...and our children?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the article, my only quibble would be that going back to the '70's isn't likely to cut it. Although as a kid I clearly remember the shift in teaching styles, and what we were being taught between 69 & 72 (west coast), I think schools went beyond the realm of being merely broken long before that, and it's not just how or what they are taught, but what they are taught with.

    If you're being taught from a 'textbook', in any subject other than perhaps mathematics, and with anything other in mind than as reference, I think it's already a guarantee that any actual education that happens to take place, will be accidental at best.

    Ever try to 'Read' a 'history' textbook? Makes no difference whether it is a grade school, high school or college version, you’ll find a lifeless listing of facts and acts only, utterly devoid of any higher, inspired or integrated meaning in either the text or in the manner of telling it (whether or not the facts or acts are even accurate, is besides this point). When has anyone ever seen something worthy of being read, in a textbook? Has anyone ever found something interesting and well written in a textbook? Why would you remember any of it's verbiage? The ONLY thing a kid can do with them, is try to recall the lines they've been told are 'important', long enough to match them to boiler plate questions & pass a test.

    Whatever it is that that is, it ain't Education. Data that's been assembled without intelligence or imagination is no better than an instruction booklet on how to assemble a bicycle, and quite a bit worse - at least the instruction booklet has a real world application.

    I don't think that textbook factoids are fundamentally different from the 'whole language' slop they are taught to 'read' with. You can't learn any principles and concepts from a textbook, you don't learn anything worth remembering from a textbook, you just try to memorize static, disjointed facts, in much the same way that whole language 'teaches' you to pick out the shape of words and make a guess about which ones they are... and they are just as utterly worthless for learning any principles insights that will contribute to helping you live your life any better.

    What value does an education have, that doesn't do that? ITT Tech can teach you a skill, but Education is supposed to give you skill at living... and textbooks are supposed to contribute to that? No more so than adding mud to your soup.

    And we fight to 'improve' textbooks... I suppose it's a good thing to reduce the lethality of the poison being fed us... but that really shouldn't be mistaken for doing something that will improve 'education', worthy of no more enthusiasm than you'd give to changing your mandated poison from cyanide to arsenic.


    I know for sure that my kids got far more educational value out of something like Harry Potter from a line like Dumbledore's "The time is coming when all must choose between what is Right... and what is easy", something like that at least has a chance of catching fire in a child’s imagination and being memorable, something that’s clearly True for Harry and for their own life as well, and that's worth more than the combined contents and tonnage of every textbook in the public school system today - and I don't think I'm exaggerating.

    Sorry, pet peeve.


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