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  •  Remember that American Education is (0+ / 0-)

    MORE effective than any other nation's systems of education, precisely because we dont have, or didnt have, "a system." We had a guiding philosophy, which still is in effect, and no amount of NCLB, testing, evaluating, rewarding, punishing or any other Operant Conditioning BF Skinner Pigeon Training Program can replace it for its support of democracy, free will choice and personal happiness of the individual.

    We educate each citizen, regardless of ability or income or  background, to be a full citizen, as much as he or she wants, in every area she or he is interested in.

    No other country has such a broad education charter. No other country attempts to educate fully every student. No country has as much attention to learning disabilities or differences, both deficits and accelerated progress.  No country has requirements and options for everyone, comprehensively.

    Hundreds of thousands of students from around the world come HERE to America for a better education. They vote with their feet to get here at incredible risk. It is only here that the ignorant feel, not think, that American educators are doing a poor job. The world votes for us, whether we recognize our own accomplishment or not. Propaganda in America rules public perception on this topic, as in many others.

    When the critics of education attack education and teachers, they are really attacking our guiding philosophy; they want training for a few, not a broad and open inquiry education for all. They want narrow, compliant indoctrination, not broad liberal critical thinking and acting. They want nationalism and not humanitarianism. They want to re-enact the last century, not look forward to a new one.

    It is time to push back, hard. You can also join the Network for Public Education and stay informed. It is a new organization formed  by Diane Ravitch and her friends and allies, and is forming the necessary political and informational push to re-establish our own democratic educational principles.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 07:59:32 AM PDT

    •  Australia's pretty good, too and yes they have (0+ / 0-)

      foreign students ... I taught there, in 3 universities, students are students everywhere, but we weren't 'rubricized' either

      tk, can I make up that word? thanks ...

    •  what? (0+ / 0-)

      Not quite following this post.  The crux of Ken's article that he refers to in the diary is that draconian (and non-educational) federal standards by people who know zilch about education have effectively put a lid on teacher's abillities to teach--and students' opportunities to learn--and that lid has now been placed WAY DOWN in the bottom of the pot.

      Some educational experiences--for those lucky enough--are excellent--magnet programs, G & T programs, the rare outstanding teacher who has been able to still use creative approaches to work around the confines of the system...

      But no--we're not the Shining City on the Educational Hill.  We've plummeted.  I've tutored several hundred students (Montgomery County, MD)--and it's striking.  Sometimes I'll unthinkingly take students' lead in complaining about the teachers, too---and in some cases we're probably justified--but the system really doesn't foster anything of value.  Teacher after teacher (real ones---not tutors like me) complain bitterly about this.

      •  I have so much to say to this.. (0+ / 0-)

        But suffice for now to suggest that I knew the "old timer teachers" of the past who are supposedly the paragon of American Education. Believe me when I say that these were tortured people who did not live lives of happiness or fulfillment based on their attitudes toward people, human concern for the oppressed or the ability to persuade as opposed to coerce. It is pure nostalgia to suggest that those times are what we need to return to. In the ability to coerce people to get good scores, yes we have plummeted. And that is a good thing.

        As for the "freedom to teach," the standards are exactly what I am talking about. They are so low that we cannot have meaningful classes on most days. Nothing above the most trivial is tested, and therefore, noticed or taught.

        And as a teacher for the last 32 years, I agree that student performance, on average, has gone down slightly. HOWEVER..If you select out those who would have dropped out 40-50 years ago, or who never entered after Middle School, however, we are significantly above the average (depending on the measure) of that time. What this suggests is that we are attempting to cover educationally people who have never been covered, in this society or any other. Most other education around the world admits and encourages a state of elitism, or to put it another way, locks in those with advantages from the home, to get more advantages at school. Attacks on education are attacks on our egalitarian approach to educate and test EVERYONE. Immigrants, low performers, poor, migrant, local residents who have avoided all school locked into the "family business" whatever that may be, and those who are unsocial and unsocialized.

        Those kids who you are talking to, struggling for an education, have no home experience with the process and vocabulary and discipline of self-education. That is possessed by kids whose parents succeeded in college, the lucky 15 percent. We are now embarked on the challenge to get 40 percent through college, because that is the level of educational skill we need today to "compete" in the economy. That measure has nothing to do with the educational function of education, to produce happy and satisfied people because they know where we have been and where we are going; he "meaning" questions that give life purpose. My students of all levels love that search and that approach because there is no one else doing it. Its all objectives and checklists. So far, I have avoided all that for teaching real people real things. As Ken says, education is my way of being political.

         The barriers are not school based barriers, by and large. They are cultural, racial, poverty-based and expectation based factors which go back thousands of years to challenge elitism. I have these kids, because I ask for them. I do not want the elites. I want the ones who LOVE the struggle to understand an educated mind and vocabulary and process. Last year it was 275 of them. Teaching essay writing and rhetorical analysis, and if you think that is easy, then, you should give it a try. I am sure some of them think I am the apogee of assholism, but that goes with the territory. I am sure some think I am "too easy" for their "advanced" skill, but they are wrong. They just use that as an excuse because they are enabled to do so by elitist thinking and negative attitudes toward compulsory attendance.

        Do not buy the propaganda. We are doing better with less, for more people than ever before, on average, and the progress is slow and agonizing, but to join in with the Hair On Fire group and declare support for those who want to dismantle public education is the wrong approach.

        Many students who need tutoring themselves have given themselves additional barriers, such as avoidance behavior, fun seeking behavior, technology addiction, adrenaline addictions, challenging teachers when they dont need to, and having an attitude of "teach me, thats what you are getting paid for." I know them. It may not be their fault, but... we have the Affective mode of instruction to deal with this. Of course, with 275 of them, its nearly impossible, so I expect you do hear complaints. They do not see the big picture, so its important for you to see it.

        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

        by OregonOak on Sat Aug 10, 2013 at 10:02:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  some interesting points here--agree with some (0+ / 0-)

          and disagree with some--unfortunately on the way out so can't address the post now.  May pop back in later if there's time!

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