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View Diary: A response to Tom Vilsack (148 comments)

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  •  Focus on literacy (4.00)
    When people talk about public policy approaches to improve teaching and learning they rarely talk about the role of the culture at large on what happens in schools.  And frankly we don't have a culture that is focused on learning and on literacy.  

    We have a focus on consumption and wealth accumulation.  Education to many is simply a means to greater wealth rather than a search for truth.  

    One of the things that is most dangerous about the right is their anti-intellectualism. Whenever they talk about "elitism" what they are really talking about is the culture of ideas, be it in the arts or in higher education.  Any cultural impetus that is not focused on greater wealth for the few is viewed as suspect.

    As a teacher and administrator, I can tell you that it is a daily battle to help students see that education is really about a struggle for truth and wisdom, not a set of employability skills.  The entire testing debate simply feeds into the idea that a set of discrete skills that can be measured and that have economic value is what schooling is all about.  

    So thinking students and teachers are often left with the unfortunate reality acknowledged by Twain: "I never let schooling get in the way of my education."

    The Republican Party: Redefining Oppression for the 21st Century

    by daveriegel on Sat Oct 08, 2005 at 07:30:56 AM PDT

    •  yup, and the television programs of today plus (none)
      the tits and ass movies with a car chase are in large part responsible. not that i mind them, but that is all hollywood is doing these days.
    •  A hit! (none)
      The anti-intellectualism promoted by our culture is rarely, to my knowledge, ever discussed in the forums addressing education. Many of the above comments cite excellect reasons that education is in such a deplorable state, but of all those worthy candidates for reform, none has more impact than the underlying driver of "why kids don't learn" than the attitude pervasive and distructive but never spoken of: because being educated is denigrated.

      Of course it is subtle, but think of how teachers are presented in the media: goofballs, goof-offs, or just plain goofy. And what about the role of reading vs football? How important is education to the public when the conversation always talks about the buck and rarely about the bang?

      It is cool to be kick-ass, it is cool to be cute, but is it cool to be well-read?

      In many respects this is political and promoted as part of an ideology of dumb is more American than those leftist smarties who blame America first. To accuse public schools is the rule when your goal is private, and often Christian, alternatives.

      I must add that in the recent Dem dialogue the solution to NCLB has always started and stopped at funding, but money is not the answer. The answer is that NCLB is a bad bill, a trojan horse meant to end public education not mend it. Maybe because "they" voted for it, "they" are not able to admit that the bill is a piece of crap, but that doesn't change anything, because it is what it is: a piece of crap.

      •  money is fine, but only if it is wisely spent. (none)
        senator has been a great advocate for education, but he sure was taken in that crappy no child left behind!(leave all children behind is a better motto)

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