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If you are attempting to fix education problems in the US or if you are one of those that claim nothing is really wrong, it's just a matter of Republican messaging, I strongly suggest you watch this:

Don't have 12 minutes to watch this engaging video?  Below the fold, I have a synopsis. But, seriously, this video is worth the time. Skip my words, watch his, and then join us in the comments below.

Sir Ken Robinson speaks to RSA about education.


Sir Ken starts with the premise that nations all over the world are reforming education in an attempt to create a space for our children in the economic realities of the 21st century without understanding what that economic reality will actually look like. At the same time, we are also attempting to give our children a cultural identity within the larger global system.

The reform movement, however, is trying to meet the future by "doing what they did in the past"

1. Alienate millions of kids who see no purpose in going to school

Wait a minute, you say. I wasn't alienated! My kids aren't alienated. We believe in the system! Well, when I grew I also believed that a solid education would get you into college which in turn would result in a degree which would then result in a job. I don't think it is farfetched to say that most kids don't believe this anymore. Just take a look at Occupy Wall Street.

2. Marginalizes things that kids think are important.

I think it is fair to say that many kids don't feel a connection to school. Standardized curriculum means that teachers can no longer tailor lesson plans to their kid's interests, and that many communities are studying subjects that have little to no importance to their way of life.

At this point, Sir Ken feels the need to mention the catch all cry of reformists - Raise Standards! He actually wonders why anyone would assume we don't want to raise standards in the first place. To him, it's a given that an education system would always strive to do better.

The Pillars of Public Education

He reminds us that our current education system "was designed and conceived for a different age... in the intellectual culture of the Enlightenment..." and under "the economic circumstances of the Industrial Revolution." Basically, it had two pillars - an intellectual pillar and an economic pillar.

The intellectual pillar was based on the concept of intelligence that existed at the time of the Enlightenment - that intelligent people were good at deductive reasoning and a had a good knowledge of the classics. Therefore, if we taught using the classics and we made deductive reasoning the base of all education, we would create intelligent students. Basically, everybody who learned from these methods was thought to be an Academic (those with deductive reasoning skills and an education in the classics) and everyone else was Non-Academic (not smart enough).

We see Conservative Republicans take advantage of this model - they tell us all the time that professors and scientists are elitist and assume the rest of us are stupid - yet they are often some of the first to jump on the classical education bandwagon.

Sir Ken admits that the system has worked well for SOME people. But, at the same time, he tells that it has been a failure for many more.

At this point in the video, I have been nodding my head, agreeing with everything he has to say. I am well read, I have gone through the public education system and see exactly what he is talking about. I get it and I agree. His speech is well crafted, easy to follow and the video adds a visual element that is engaging. The artist "keeps up"with Sir Ken's speech and draws appealing graphics that draw us in... much better than your average Power Point presentation. But I don't think I'm going to watch more... until:

The Plague of ADHD

Sir Ken shows us a map of the USA with incidents of ADHD. He talks about our current society and how we bombard children everyday with media images - tv, computers, cellphones, advertisements on the street, etc. - from a very young age and then we expect them to sit still in a classroom and focus on boring stuff. He makes the point that the incidents of ADHD have risen with the incidents of standardized testing.

Made me wonder what else has increased with the incidents of standardized testing? More desk time and less recess. More studying to the test and less art, music, and PE. All the things that would allow a child to recharge, to allow their brain to work in a different manner, if only for a short amount of time.

What is even more interesting is that incidents of ADHD increase as we move east across the US. The incidents also tend to be heavier in the Southern States. Sir Ken gets a good laugh line with "They start loosing interest in Oklahoma," moves on to "They can hardly think straight in Arkansas" and caps it off with "by the time they get to Washington, they've lost it completely."

Sir Ken explains how the Arts, and perhaps even Science and Math when properly taught, allow an aesthetic experience. Basically, when we are learning aesthetically, we are learning in the moment and are engaged not only with our minds but often with our hearts. "Our senses are operating at their peak."

The opposite of this is anaesthetic - basically "we deaden ourselves to what is happening around us". When we medicate children for ADHD, we often anaesthetize them in order to focus them in class. Other kids are capable of self-anaesthetizing... daydreams anyone? It just is a matter of degree. Why do we anaesthetize children... so that they can better fit the factory model...

We have built a system of education that is the image of the Industrial Revolution. For example, Sir Ken tell us that schools are still organized on factory lines: ringing bells, separate facilities, separate subjects. We educate children in batches, by their date of manufacture.

And public education today is increasingly about conformity, about fitting into the system. If we are interested in a better model for education, we shouldn't start from a production line mentality. Current reform moves us to more conformity, more standardization. Sir Ken believes, as do I, that we need to move in the exact opposite direction and change the paradigm.

Divergent Thinking

In order to change the paradigm, Sir Ken introduces Divergent Thinking. Divergent thinking is "an essential Capacity for Creativity." It is the ability to see lots of possible ideas, to interpret a question in multiple ways, to see multiple answers, not just one.

He tells of a study in a book called "Break Point and Beyond" where they tested 1500 people for divergent thinking. 98% of them scored genius level. But here's the kicker. These were kindergarden students. And guess what. This was a longitudinal study. They tested the kids again at 8-10 years old. And again at 13-15 years old. They lost the capacity for divergent thinking. Sir Ken believes a lot of that is due to the way they learn in school; there is usually one right answer and that answer is in the back of the book. We need a system that not only encourages divergent thinking but that engages it on a daily basis.

He makes an important point - Education isn't this way because teachers want it this way; it's happened this way because it's in the gene pool of our education system... that factory model he discussed in the beginning. Divergent thinking is hard to support within the framework of the factory model. Yet, we Americans need divergent thinking more than ever. We want citizens that are able to think outside the box, who are able to come up with new solutions to the never ending problems that face our society, and who are flexible enough to work with those who can't see in a non-liner fashion.

In conclusion

Most of you know that I homeschool my two teenage sons. I didn't chose homeschooling to escape the factory model - but I have long since learned that part of what I hate about modern education is the batch system of keeping kids in one grade with the same age kids. My children experienced German kindergarden where they have kids ages 3-6 grouped together and it was a spectacular experience! And during our homeschool years they have encountered mixed-aged classes, play groups, and socialization opportunities in large number. I think all of that has helped them be more flexible in their approach to other kids as well as made them more able to hold conversations with adults.

I also hate the idea that kids are learning the "right" answers. I want education in our public schools to be more about exposing kids to educational opportunities that appeal to them and are pertinent to their neighborhoods as well. I do see where we could take our own child-centered learning approach and place that in a public school setting - but lets get rid of the batches and the bells. It would mean completely changing our current approach to education - it's a radical suggestion for the 21st century but why not? The idea of the factory model of education was radical for it's time as well. Why not have kids meet by interest for part of the day - if kids learn 'how to learn,' it won't matter what the subject matter is. They will be able to learn what they need when they need it because they will have the most basic skills mastered. Kids are natural learners and our current system stifles that process in so many ways.

If you're intrigued after reading this synopsis, then please watch the video, it really is just under 12 minutes and that time will fly. I missed a lot of fine points that he made that are well-worth hearing. The broad ideas are here for us to discuss in the comments below.

Thanks for reading Education Alternative's Series on Homeschooling!

We publish Saturday mornings between 8am and 12noon EST

We follow the kos rule of Participating in someone else's diary

Follow us at Education Alternatives for our occasional weekday pieces on homeschooling.

Originally posted to A Progressive Military Wife on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 06:01 AM PDT.

Also republished by Education Alternatives.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (115+ / 0-)
  •  WOW! (42+ / 0-)

    This is great. As a public school teacher, I believe he has nailed the major problems in schools. I see standardization and demoralization as one in the same. It would be great to have Sir Ken Robinson facilitating professional development for educators. That's some PD I could sink my teeth into.

    "There must be more to life than having everything" -Maurice Sendak

    by lilypew on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 06:20:45 AM PDT

    •  Standardization and demoralization equals (23+ / 0-)

      out of control ADHD (at least in my daughter).  ADHD has been described as moving as though driven by a motor. This year my daughter says it's more like a runaway freight train careening down a mountain after the brake lines have been severed.

      What has changed for her? The older they get, the more the teachers lecture and expect the kids to take notes. Kgirl says that school feels like prison (I'm sure actual inmates may disagree -- but nevertheless, kgirl sees education as a punishment!) In middle school there is no recess and the kids are required to take Health -- which takes the place of PE. Occasionally a teacher has taken kgirl down to the gym to let her run off some energy and she runs full speed for 30 minutes solid without slowing down or tiring out.  The only class that interests her is PE and Engineering.

      The high school has more frequent off periods and a workout room that everyone is allowed to use during those periods. Freshman through seniors are in classes together (it's almost like college -- they get to sign up for whatever class they want that meets the basic requirements. So a senior can finally get around to taking a particular history class that a freshman wants to take immediately.) A lot of classes are designed to be hands-on rather than sit-down-and-shut-up. I'm hoping for significantly better results next year...

      The search for truth and knowledge is one of the finest attributes of a man, though often it is most loudly voiced by those who strive for it the least -- Albert Einstein

      by theKgirls on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 07:10:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think there is a huge disconnect with the (26+ / 0-)

        current system and how kids actually function - the necessity of outdoor activity, of physical movement, of hands on opportunties, of learning by doing, have gone by the wayside. We really need a national movement to bring all of this back. And downtime... people have forgotten how important it is to have time for nothing! Think of how much we learned as kids during those 'nothing' moments!

      •  Alternatives (7+ / 0-)

        She sounds like a great candidate for homeschooling during the middle school years.  Why spend years in prison?

        OTOH, that high school sounds like a very different place than most public high schools.  I'm curious about where it is, what is the name of it?

        •  We are in MA (7+ / 0-)

          and it is a public school. It's the reason our property taxes are so high...

          I couldn't believe the Course Catalogue she came home with. She needs two history credits (beyond the standard American history) and she can choose the Industrial Revolution or Women in History or even the history of automobiles. They have an entire wing of the school devoted to the arts: theater (acting and writing), metal arts, ceramics, drawing, wood shop, etc.

          PE choices include rock climbing, orienteering, martial arts or any kind of sport you can think of. There's a club for almost any interest a kid could have. Seriously, they have more interesting courses than I had in college.

          If kgirl can't find her interests there, she's not trying at all...

          The search for truth and knowledge is one of the finest attributes of a man, though often it is most loudly voiced by those who strive for it the least -- Albert Einstein

          by theKgirls on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 08:13:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I have ADD, and it tends to exaggerate learning (11+ / 0-)

        styles that we all have, as best I can tell. I also have two learning disorders in conjunction with my ADD: auditory and sequential processing. I have an extremely hard time following oral information.

        Have you tried doing some sort of restructuring that would cater to her learning style? Has she been tested for co-morbid learning disabilities?

        Also, I really take issue with the diarists attack on stimulants. No doubt they are misused but please don't insult those of us for whom they are a gamechanger. I'm hardly "anaesthetized" because I'm more functional, and it's hugely insulting to be told that I am. ADHD kids and adults get insulted enough already, I promise!

        •  Kgirl could not function without medication (6+ / 0-)

          She's tried to attend school a couple of times without it, but she couldn't even have a coherent conversation with friends. Her mind races like no other kid the doctors have ever seen (pediatrician and the psychologist who did the ADHD testing) And as mom of someone who will eventually be driving, I am eternally grateful there is medication!

          She is also dyslexic -- that is equally, sometimes moreso, a problem. I've found a few apps that can assist her with her thought process (like Inspiration, which are a dozen or so templates for doing English papers or science projects...) and for keeping her organized (iStudiez). She has an alarm clock on her iPhone that goes off multiple times a day, telling her it's time to set the table, do homework, and even to go to bed (she'll stay up all night if I don't make her get some sleep!) Between medication, behavior modification, and technology, she will someday set the world afire (in a good way!)

          The search for truth and knowledge is one of the finest attributes of a man, though often it is most loudly voiced by those who strive for it the least -- Albert Einstein

          by theKgirls on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:20:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This week I am handing out awards. (5+ / 0-)

            Across the board, two of our ADHD kids are receiving all academic awards.  One has also been awarded music and art top merit as well.  (This is a school based practice, I don't necessarily condone awards).  Anyway, once ADHD kids are aware and learn management, they are often very high achievers.   I definitely think Da Vinci had ADHD.  :)

            •  I think Jesus had ADHD (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FloridaSNMOM, reconnected

              among others of note in religion. The actual research on ADHD (which I have in abundance) shows that "sufferers" have higher creativity and higher empathy on average. It is no wonder that schools since the Prussian system of the 18th century have been designed to make them fail.

              ADHD is not a "deficit" of attention. It usually comes with hyperfocus on what is actually interesting, but an inability to sit still for complete guff.

              The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.--George Bernard Shaw

              Busting the Dog Whistle code.

              by Mokurai on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 12:53:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I rely on my email/calender application at work... (5+ / 0-)

            to constantly remind me of what I need to do next.  I can't keep a daily calendar or to-do list in my head!  I always chalked it up to being very non-linear, right-brained and creative.

            Cooper Zale Los Angeles

            by leftyparent on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 11:35:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Try this for awhile, it works with kids. (5+ / 0-)

              Just for certain tasks, invest in a little hand held timer.  Before you start a task, estimate how much time you will use and set your timer.  It helps build awareness of the passage of time, which ADHD kids struggle with.  Also, don't give yourself or kids tasks like "clean your room," give tasks like, "for 10 minutes I will clean my closet."  Make your to-do lists very short and incremental.  In my classroom, the kids have a "plan" for all transitions that they repeat before they begin them "First, unpack my backpack and hang it up, next read the board, finally, pick up my folders and return to my seat."

              My own kids are very right-brained and creative, but none of us are exempt from finite time and money, no matter how much the magic money machine told them otherwise, lol.  

              •  Thanks for the suggestions!... FYI... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                I use our Lotus Notes email and calendar software to completely manage my day and keep track of everything I need to do, everything people have asked me to do and all my responses.  The application keeps me wonderfully organized and my right-brained mind is freed to think outside-the-box and make my unique contributions to the collaborative efforts of my work team.

                Cooper Zale Los Angeles

                by leftyparent on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 09:11:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  From what I've seen as a parent and an OTA (7+ / 0-)

          the biggest issue isn't with the medication, it's the reliance solely on medication. Medication needs to be paired with therapy (Sensory integration and behavioral) as well as compensation techniques (like Kgirl's alarm system). Notes and reminders placed in prominent places (like reminders to turn things like stoves off if needed).

          The problem is too many kids are put on medication and that's it. And then when they become adults and are pulled off medication, they are left without any way of managing a disorder that doesn't just go away when you get older.

          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

          by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:36:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you (5+ / 0-)

          I totally agree. The message that ADHD is merely a result of an antiquated education system is harmful to those who have been able to succeed because medication helps them. I wonder if this guy has done any research on brain physiology and ADHD. I have witnessed, many times, the game change that you speak of when the proper medication is used to help children keep their focus long enough to learn to read and write. I find many of his ideas interesting but he has over simplified the issue of ADHD.

          Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

          by BMarshall on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 11:21:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed, but a very linear OSFA... (5+ / 0-)

            (one size fits all) education system I think contributes to the problem.  It is not designed to let learners drive their own learning direction, pace or approach.

            Cooper Zale Los Angeles

            by leftyparent on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 11:37:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  i agree this is the biggest problem with ADD. (4+ / 0-)

              i'm ADD. i don't HAVE ADD, i AM ADD. i was diagnosed late at 35, but i remember school and how i reacted to it. i have an IQ that consistently tests in the 140-150 range. i read voraciously as a kid and still do. yet, my HS GPA was only 2.77 because i blew off my first 3yrs of it because of my ADD. (my last year i got a 3.85 GPA because i had decided to just actually turn in my homework. a factor that leads me to believe that grades don't measure learning whatsoever so much as they measure production.) and, when i joined the Navy in my senior year i scored a 95 on the ASVAB.

              i can only imagine where i'd be now if i had had meds to allow me to cope with the school systems' ( i went to 7 different HS in 4 years.) OSFA structures.

              that's the biggest boon of the meds. not to anaesthetize the student but to allow the student to cope with a system for which s/he isn't designed. people don't grow out of ADD like they grow out of HS. they just become ADD adults whose learned coping mechanisms are functional or not functional.

              blink-- pale cold

              by zedaker on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 01:35:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  not all types can be treated with stimulants (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FloridaSNMOM, zedaker, theKgirls

                just a caveat, and the reason I am most annoyed with pediatricians who don't send kids to psychologists before medicating them.  There's this one:  

                Someone with "Over-Focused ADHD" is like Rabbit, in that he:

                •May worry a LOT, even over things that don't really matter much
                •Can be very oppositional to parents
                •May like to argue
                •May be somewhat compulsive about the way things ought to be done
                •Will have a very hard time shifting from one activity to another
                •Always wants to have his way
                The cause of this type of ADHD is an over-active Anterior Cingulate Gyrus. This part of the brain is over-active all of the time. And, to make things worse, when a "work load" is put on the brain, such as school work or a chore to be completed, there is the common ADHD symptom of decreased activity level in the Pre-Frontal Cortex.

                In this type of ADHD some stimulants, and too much use of L-Tyrosine to increase dopamine production can actually make the problem of over-focus worse. So be careful what treatment intervention you choose.

                •  i took my child to (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Karma for All

                  a neuro-pediatric psychiatrist, not a psychologist, for his diagnosis, and he got the whole gamut of exclusionary testing (heavy metal poisoning, thyroid, etc.) from him before he was diagnosed. (a decent pediatrician is better qualified to make that call than a psychologist if he uses any kind of decent screening indices.) so i never chose the med intervention, his Docs did. nor did i medicate him for anything other than school... no meds after school or on weekends or summers/holidays.

                  having said that, the hyper-focus aspect of ADD is, in my case at least, a positive thing and a state i seek/sought. i can see it being a problem, though, if someone can't turn it off. it can be emotionally and physically draining.

                  nevertheless, that has nothing to do with what the purpose of medicating ADD is. that purpose is to allow the ADDer to cope with the demands of his/her life that s/he has zero control over. not to make teachers' lives easier.

                  blink-- pale cold

                  by zedaker on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 03:01:33 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I am talking about family pediatricians (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    FloridaSNMOM, zedaker

                    who are prescribing medications based on one Connors scale, not specialists.  

                    There is a state of hyper-focus that some forms of ADHD experience, but Over-focused ADHD is actually one of six types of ADHD recognized by many psychologists, and I was emphasizing that some drugs, if not properly preceded by real diagnostic testing, can yield actual negative results and exacerbate this kind of ADHD.

                    Sometimes medication helps ADD, sometimes it does not.  I don't know how to respond to your last line, as I don't know a single, not one teacher, in ten years of teaching, that has proposed a child take medication in order to make their own lives easier.  This is a statement I have read and heard many times on-line, but  in my experience I have only met teachers who are very much AGAINST the use of drugs.  (I am not, I believe there are too many variations of conditions to rule them out and that drugs might be necessary at different stages and for different cases).  

                    As the parent of two ADHD children, a special educator, and the spouse of an adult with ADHD, I can tell you that drugs are not necessary to cope with the demands of life for all people with ADD or ADHD.  It is very much a matter of identifying the type of ADHD, and then working with specialists (like a qualified cognitive behavioral psychologist, neurologists, etc.) to determine a plan for addressing each person's individual needs that may or may not include therapies, medication, life coaches, and diet.  

                    •  Karma (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Karma for All, zedaker

                      Thank you for adding your experience and expertise to the discussion.

                      Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

                      by BMarshall on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 03:52:38 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  QEEG testing identified these for my kids. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      and informed the plan that they are on, which presently includes diet changes, vitamin supplements, psychological therapy including bio and neuro feedback, monthly meetings as a family with a psychologist, and weekly family meetings as well as "homework" assignments from their psychologist designed to help them change habits.  I highly recommend finding a specialist who uses QEEG to anyone who has a child diagnosed with ADHD

                      The N.A.S.P. guidelines conclude that ADHD needs a psycho-medical evaluation that matches our growing awareness of the complexity that goes by the simple name of ADHD ."...

                      Others have added to this body of research linking ADHD and brain wave dysfunction. Colby, in the Journal of Child Neurology (1991) reported on the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of attention. Benson, in the same journal, (1991) discussed the role of frontal dysfunction in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Chabot et al (Clinical Electroencephalography, 1995) found QEEG to be a useful adjunct to behavioural testing and clinical evaluation in the differential diagnosis of children with SDLD (specific developmental learning disorders) and those with ADHD. Discriminant functions that use combinations of QEEG features were found to distinguish these two types of developmental disorders from each other and from normal development with accuracy levels between 85 and 95%.

                      Moreover, Chabot et al reported that, within the ADHD population, QEEG could be used to distinguish those children that respond favourably to dexamphetamine from those that respond to methyphenidate. The authors also present preliminary evidence that the QEEG can help identify children who respond to Thioridazine and not to stimulants.

                      The research concluded that QEEG could differentiate children with ADHD from children without ADHD and from others with look-alike disorders.

                      Within the catch-all category of ADHD, other researchers, notably Daniel Amen, who uses Single Photon Emission Computerised Tomography (SPECT) to aid in the diagnosis, and Joel Lubar are among others have used QEEG to discern up to seven sub-types of ADHD.


                      I also recommend a rigorous pursuit of your child's rights under IDEA in all educational settings, including colleges and universities.  

                    •  that last sentence (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Karma for All

                      was a pre-emptive quash directed at those on-line arguments you mentioned and NOT at teachers, or you, specifically. your experience has been my own when it comes to teachers, though i think that the idea has been pushed in the media, as well as just on-line, that teachers just want kids medicated to control them. i definitely agree that it's a bogus meme.

                      i, also, agree that a person's treatment of their ADD is a multi-modal and ongoing strategy that changes continually as the person ages and their understanding of ADD and how it affects them changes. i'm sorry if i implied that meds are the only , or best, treatment. they usually are early after a diagnoses just so someone can get a handle on their life, and learn what else works for them, and they may be later for shorter or longer periods if the person has further trouble and needs them. a lot of times, just knowing one is ADD helps drastically... by allowing one to recognize when the ADD is driving one's life or decisions.

                      as for this

                      I also recommend a rigorous pursuit of your child's rights under IDEA in all educational settings, including colleges and universities.
                      i can't agree with, or stress, this too much!

                      we're on the same page. :)

                      blink-- pale cold

                      by zedaker on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 05:36:20 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  Medication may be right for some... (0+ / 0-)

                but our son's issues were solved by getting him out of that regimented school environment and let him live his life by his own time-table and direction.  I think he would still struggle to do a sheet of math problems (particularly for no real reason) but that is not the kind of things he does in his real life in his vocations and avocations.

                Cooper Zale Los Angeles

                by leftyparent on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 09:15:23 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  that was my point. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  you removed him from the environment that was causing him trouble, therefore he didn't need medication to cope with that environment.

                  i really dislike the disorder appellation as it applies to ADD. it is NOT a disorder. it's just a different way of thinking, a hard-wired way, that only becomes a disorder when it collides with society.

                  blink-- pale cold

                  by zedaker on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 01:30:47 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Your driving metaphor is interesting (3+ / 0-)

              Can you imagine being one adult in a rather small room with 27 eight year olds all driving in their own chosen direction and at their own pace for 6 hours a day? Wouldn't it be great if we as a country decided to really focus on the children when we talk about how children learn and how to reform education.

              Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

              by BMarshall on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 06:26:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Agreed... Education should be something done by... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                reconnected, FloridaSNMOM

                the learner not done to the learner!

                I think we are restricting the flowering of so much human talent by not letting human beings manage their own path forward, particularly when they are young.

                Cooper Zale Los Angeles

                by leftyparent on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 09:18:03 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  You have described a Montessori school (0+ / 0-)

                Maria Montessori (1870–1952)

                    The greatest sign of success for a teacher is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist."

                    Never help a child with a task at which he feels he can succeed.

                Unfortunately, the Montessori movement has turned itself into a fixed and ossified purveyor of dogmatic method, not a research community in which teachers are free to learn more from children.

                Busting the Dog Whistle code.

                by Mokurai on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 01:00:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  I didn't hear that. (0+ / 0-)

            I heard that over-diagnosis was a problem. Not that ADHD is a result of school.

            I did wonder why he chose to focus on that single issue so much, though.

      •  I think he overplays the ADHD part. He touches on (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Karma for All, theKgirls, Nance

        doesn't seem to emphasize enough the "one right answer" mentality towards education.  And his divide between educated an uneducated is simplistic.  Yeah, there is a big money factor, but alot of the educated are simply highly trained.  They might be highly successful doctors, lawyers, and engineers, but they are simply repeating as instructed whatever their skill is.  They don't need to be geniuses (in terms of the paper-clip test).  In fact, alot of highly trained professionals are downright afraid of new technology because all their training is now at risk.

        Which is also why you will find top doctors and engineers agreeing that the greenhouse effect is bogus and scientists are in collusion, because their training is not contingent on intellectual curiosity and problem solving, it is often instead threatened by it.

        Why else would people so desperately cling to 100 year old technologies, be it the filament light bulb or internal combustion engine?

        and their contempt for the Latin schools was applauded by Theodoric himself, who gratified their prejudices, or his own, by declaring that the child who had trembled at a rod would never dare to look upon a sword.

        by ban48 on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 01:54:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This is fantastic, Angelajean! (10+ / 0-)

    thank you!

    Ray Bradbury: "There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them."

    by bjedward on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 06:26:41 AM PDT

  •  My philosophy in my preschool classroom (25+ / 0-)

    is that children discover their world through play.

    Play is a child's work.

    Why does this stop when they enter elementary school?

    Discovery.  Curiosity.  Enthusiasm.  

    The best words I can hear in my classroom:

    Hey, Miss Carol- I did it!

    Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

    by grannycarol on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 06:34:19 AM PDT

  •  Ken Robinson is awesome. (15+ / 0-)

    We brought him to campus earlier this year, and his ideas are influencing the new direction in which we're taking our curriculum (a private university).

    You are reading my signature line. #hashtag

    by cardinal on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 06:34:21 AM PDT

    •  I'd like to hear what he thinks of the new... (12+ / 0-)

      ... personality testing the UK is going to impose on their new teacher trainees.

      Few things have been as demoralizing and despair-inducing to me as knowing that everything else I bring to the table could be undone because of a snapshot of one moment in time of who I am... possibly forever. Personality testing has been one the biggest demotivators in my life, one of the biggest dampers of my sense of possibility. And maybe that's one of its intents: to get us to remove ourselves from one arena where we could make a difference, so our opponents don't have to.

      Real Democrats don't abandon the middle class. --John Kerry

      by Lucy Montrose on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 07:17:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My son's best teacher (5+ / 0-)

        was dyslexic.  If teh DSM5 hasn't decided that's crazy, they will soon, with a pill for it.  How the hell can you tell a good teacher?

        If you starve the middle class, whose gonna pay for your crap?

        by rosabw on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 07:49:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Personality testing? (4+ / 0-)

        Wow.  I haven't heard of this one.  Tell us more about it.  What test?  What kind of results are they looking for?

        •  "emotional resilience" and organizational ability (5+ / 0-)

          is the official line. And I would like to know, exactly, how they're going to measure emotional resilience and basic good mental health. Will married/coupled applicants be automatically better ranked than single ones? Ditto for churchgoers over nonbelievers? Will there be a minimum number of friends applicants will be expected to have, given the abundance of research showing the vital effects of social support?

          I abhor the idea of relationships and loved ones being reduced to "marks" we have to collect as proof we have good emotional health.

          Real Democrats don't abandon the middle class. --John Kerry

          by Lucy Montrose on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 08:01:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "Emotional Resilience" (4+ / 0-)

            I still blown away.  So they've instituted this?  It's hard for me to believe they have a process that yields valid results that will be applied to people to say you meet this result, you can have this job, you don't meet it, you can't.

            Seems like lawsuit land to me.

            •  That's the thing. How long do these results last? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Karma for All

              If you fail the personality test, will it be made to outweigh everything else going for you as a teacher applicant? Is there a possibility it might not?

              Is a failure forever? A lot of people do believe that you can't teach a good attitude, so you hire for attitude and then for skill. Do you get another chance to take the test, or is it one and done? Is there a limit on how many times you can take the test?

              Will these schools look into your private life and history to gauge your emotional health? Will there be a standard intactness of family, number of friends, and general popularity you need to attain? How many people in your life can you afford to have dislike you?

              It's all creepy and invading of privacy; but maybe the sheer ridiculousness of it will give some of them pause.

              Real Democrats don't abandon the middle class. --John Kerry

              by Lucy Montrose on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 12:31:32 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  The UK is ground zero for "wellbeing" measurements (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Karma for All

              The blog The Politics of Well-Being and its sequel, Philosophy for Life, provide a wealth of evidence for Britain's role as a test kitchen for all manner of psychological experiments on society.

              It was originally a New Labour thing, but except for a few tweaks the Coalition seems to be just as enthusiastic about it. And just as in similar efforts in the US, there has been a woeful lack of criticism about it (except on the two blogs mentioned above and a few others). Because the other side seems to have an ironclad argument: how can you be against something that promises to increase a nation's happiness and emotional health? How can you be against something that seems like a wise investment in prevention now to avoid a costly cure later?

              Because, of course, the whole freedom to live your life as you wish thing. And the idea of many different pathways to happiness, and to prevent a tyranny of the majority. Those seem to be the most cogent arguments against standardizing national happiness that I've seen so far...

              You will understand immediately why the "vaccines cause autism" doctor was British. And why he came to prominence during the height of New Labour's power. Because New Labour had planted a seed in the UK culture of what the ideal picture of psychological health was. And therefore, British citizens likely fear autism more than any other society.

              Because in a world where they're talking about weeding out prospective teachers for not measuring up to an arbitrary (and overly utilitarian) standard of emotional wellness, getting the label "autistic" is a fast-track ticket to second-class citizen status.

              Real Democrats don't abandon the middle class. --John Kerry

              by Lucy Montrose on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 12:55:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Good Lord, talk about jumping the shark, the (5+ / 0-)

            ocean, and the universe.  What a huge distraction from any meaningful solution.  

            I'd suggest the UK teacher's union devote a bit of time to finding the financial root of that piece of absurdity, and expose it.  Good luck.

          •  I've read that individuals who tested higher for (7+ / 0-)

            "emotional resilience" in the US military tended to be much more likely to commit non-combat related violence. I wonder if "emotionally resilient" is code for callous and unfeeling?

    •  It would be nice (8+ / 0-)

      if he (or any rational person) could influence the guy who is responsible for secondary English reading choices in the high school where my son teaches.

      That guy recently e-mailed teachers to say yes, they could assign "A Separate Peace" to their classes if they wish, although, he continued, "It does reflect on violence of youth from the perspective of an older narrator, Snively, if I recall correctly."

      What smug and ignorant assholery in that sentence. There is, of course, no narrator named Snively in the book, so this man cannot possibly have recalled it. My son knows that, of course, so he Googled and found that Snively is the name of a man who read the book aloud for an audio recording.

      Makes me wonder how many papers that administrator plagiarized in college and how many times he lied to his professors. '

      The state of education is ... in a sad state. Thanks for an excellent diary.

      Being the single intellectual in a village of 1,100 souls ain't much fun, especially when 1,099 of those don't think you're all that smart.--Lucy Marsden

      by Miniaussiefan on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:12:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is our job to start finding solutions. (5+ / 0-)

        I have a twitter acquaintance who falls into the "all public schools are failing, get rid of public education" mold. It is scary.

      •  Heh (0+ / 0-)

        As a future English teacher, one of my biggest fears is that I'll be required to teach that piece of dung.

        Bigger fears? That I'll be required to teach bigger pieces of dung, such as Lord Of The Flies, The Scarlet Letter, or anything by Hemingway.

        My point? I was required to read Separate Peace in HS, and hated it. I could not tell you the name of the narrator, nor do I care. However, I may be forced to deal with it some time during my teaching career, and I know it. Up until then, I'll avoid it like the plague. And if I were an administrator, and a teacher wanted to teach it, I'd let them--but would still hate the thing and certainly wouldn't re-read it!

        This week I met with the Senior Teacher with whom I will be doing my student teaching this fall. She teaches Seniors, which at this school is Brit Lit. No Separate Peace. No Scarlet Letter. Nope, I'll get to do Canterbury Tales and 19th century British romantic poets. I almost did a jig :)

        "Maybe: it's a vicious little word that could slay me"--Sara Bareilles

        by ChurchofBruce on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 01:56:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Pink Floyd nailed it in 6 minutes: (15+ / 0-)

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 06:39:47 AM PDT

    •  Oh, my son's (8+ / 0-)

      anthem regarding education.

      This is a great post on so many levels...thanks for just adding to the good stuff, zenbassoon!

      If you starve the middle class, whose gonna pay for your crap?

      by rosabw on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 06:53:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Pink Floyd are great social critics... (8+ / 0-)

      taking apart much of the staid conventional wisdom of modern society in many areas.  IMO they represent the best of the artistic vision of my Baby-Boom generation challenging "The Man".  Why that vision has not made into positions of power, particularly within education, I am puzzled.

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles

      by leftyparent on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 07:03:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe we should put the music with this video (6+ / 0-)

      somehow :) They are a good compliment to each other!

    •  Yeah. Because the big problem with education (2+ / 0-)

      is grownups insisting that kids eat a decent meal instead of just eating dessert.

      Roger Waters is a self-indulgent whiny arrested adolescent, even if he does write some decent music.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 08:21:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you dont get it do you? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BalanceSeeker, zedaker

        Bad is never good until worse happens

        by dark daze on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 08:52:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  actually, i DO get it. (0+ / 0-)

          while waters dresses up ABITW with plenty of orwellian themes about "thought control", he gives away the game with the line about meat and pudding. what he was really objecting to was adults placing limits on children's self-indulgence. and as an adult, he still doesn't like anybody putting any limits on his own self-indulgence, a trait that lies at the root of all the strife within Pink Floyd. he's a narcissist of the first order -- hardly the man i'd choose to write an anthem for education reform.

          To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

          by UntimelyRippd on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:02:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  did you have an easy time in school? (0+ / 0-)

            just curious.  

            If you starve the middle class, whose gonna pay for your crap?

            by rosabw on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:12:46 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Different way of looking at the world (4+ / 0-)

            Where you see self-indulgence, I see the result of over control and disrespect.

            Telling children they have to eat their meat before they get their pudding is a form of behavior modification that stems from distrusting that younger humans learn to self regulate on their own when given healthy choices and modeling.

            We did go through a phase of following conventional wisdom with food and sticker/reward systems but eventually learned that external control often just produces compliance and outward obedience but not true self control.  Some might argue, who cares as long as the compliance is there, but I think it makes a big difference in the quality of relationships and the realization of our full potential.

            •  Humans are animals. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Karma for All, happymisanthropy

              Their behavior is a complex result of complex biological processes that have evolved over hundreds of millions of years.

              Most human children, given free control over their diet, will eat nothing but fucking junk. It's an issue that wasn't ever an issue before the late twentieth century, because neither children nor adults had access to that much junk. Now the junk is ubiquitous, and the children behave exactly as several hundred million years of evolution have prepared them to behave.

              The real disrespect here is the disrespect for reality shown by Rousseauian fantasists who haven't had to deal with an obese child's self-destructive eating habits.

              To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

              by UntimelyRippd on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:35:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  P.S. Very important discussion in here, and my (0+ / 0-)

                five year old and 21 year old both agreed they would choose all of the pudding (Roger is kind of whiny, but people need to understand the intention of music for awhile, or the trend back then actually, was to provocate, not solve or make anthems for issues).  Anyway, nutrition choices are a major issue in educational decline (see my comment below).  Giving the kids the choices in today's society would pretty much speed up our demise as a species.  Sigh.

                •  When all the choices are crap, it doesn't really (4+ / 0-)

                  matter what you chose. Many kids don't have the choice but junk food and highly processed food. And our bodies learn to crave sugar at a very young age - the time in a child's life to learn about proper eating is when they are very young and parents have a lot of control over what choices their kids are offered.

                  I'm struggling at the moment with a 13 year old that used to love vegetables and would prefer not to eat them now. He isn't overly attracted to sweets, however. He does like carbs in all it's forms and protein - could it just be that his changing body is demanding more of those? Maybe. I think we don't really understand how our body works. But I have found that helping our kids by offering them choices, realistic ones, helps a ton. It starts at home and works its way outwards.

                  •  Pretty much. We are operating in direct (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    opposition, as a society, to what our bodies need for proper nourishment.  There is a lot of brain development going on in a 13 year old.  I highly recommend reading about DHA and Omega 3 deficiencies in our diet to all parents.  (I am not a doctor, just someone who has read a lot to help my ADHD kids in absence of preventative medicine.)

                    ADD Nutrition Solutionby Marcia Zimmerman does a good job of explaining how societal changes in food (no longer experiencing seasonal items, for example) contributes to our exclusion of food and unbalanced diets as we can and do eat the same foods over and over.  We did not do the diet, it required beginning as babes, all over again to identify allergies, etc.  However, we did take some useful information from it.

                    A good rule of thumb is more protein in the morning (see this as the fuel for thinking) and more good carbs in the evening (see these as natural calming for necessary sleep.)

                    ADHD kids especially, and all kids, can and are developing insulin resistance due to eating habits.  Sugar and processed foods are pretty poisonous.  Hyperactivity is a reaction to sugar in some children because they have to force norepinephrine development somehow (like from running in circles) to process sugar.  You are right, my kids are none the worse from removing them from our diets and offering the healthy alternatives, but it takes a lot of overcoming convenience.   We know a lot more about how our body works than we are telling our kids.

                    •  We just had an Omega 3 converation... (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Karma for All, rosabw

                      other family members that don't live near us are exhibiting issue that we think might be partially solved by healthier eating. My kids get it, even when they don't want to eat vegetables :)

                      We have discovered some of what you suggest by listening to our bodies. All of us do better with protein for breakfast. And we have alway discussed sugar and carb balance - if you have a soda, that is dessert. If you have bread with dinner, maybe you shouldn't have wine. Etc.

                      If I could convince people to do one thing, it would be to stop eating processed foods. We're almost there - crackers and some breakfast cereal are the tough ones for us. But pretty minimally processed ones, overall.

                      •  If we could just put that into the (0+ / 0-)

                        curiculum we'd have progress.  

                        Then there's this:  This year  a student in our school told the lunch monitor, "These red things taste great."   LM:  "You mean, apples? You can get those in the store, you know."  Student:  "My mom doesn't shop in that kind of a store."


                        •  How old was this child supposed to be? (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          First time they've ever been out of their home? Had this student never seen an apple in a classroom? In a movie? In a book? In learning the alphabet?

                          •  Well, it was the music teacher (0+ / 0-)

                            who told me, she is the LM for K-1 lunch.  I work in a poverty stricken, urban district, which has a significant ts food desert.  Unfortunately, despite best efforts of Students can spend their entire lives eating food that comes from a convenience store or a fast food restaurant, which are within walking distance of their home.  Seeing an apple on a flash card does not mean a child knows what an apple is in the lunch room.  It sounds like you do not believe me: "supposed to be," which is fine.  This is one of many stories that I hear on a daily basis.  There is a traveling fresh market that sometimes comes through.  And, there is an overpriced organic shop.

                            Neither are frequented by our kids at risk.  

                            Here is another story.  I regularly have mice in my room because kids hide their scraps wrapped in napkins in their desks, on my bookshelves, in their cubbies.  Once, I had a student in tears because I would not let her drink the milk she had hidden the day before.

                          •  I didn't believe it. (0+ / 0-)

                            Not until you told the rest of the story.

                            A 5-year-old child living in a food desert is not going to be helped by a curriculum opposing processed foods.

                            Maybe if your classroom had a refrigerator these kids could keep their snacks/leftovers safe. Are you allowed to have one?

                          •  I buy snacks for them and have a refrigerator (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            which I do let them use.  We also have a foundation that supplies the room with granola bars.  You have to know these kids, they are operating out of habit, or hoarding because they are afraid they won't eat later.   Some are embarassed.  We have this clear separation in my school, many kids with great lunch boxes and snacks, and the ones without.

                            BTW, my husband just told me Moo and Oink pulled out, which is just as well, as the only people that could afford them lived outside of the city.  There is one bodega in the city selling fresh items, and the traveling farmer's market (which I don't think comes in the winter months, but I may be wrong.)  There are also several soup kitchens trying their best, but we need to get the entire city off of sugar and processed foods to even make a dent.  I cannot describe in one comment the crises we are in with more and more students who should be classified or 504'd that the district cannot or won't keep up with, with the way I believe the nutrition ignorance is affecting the level of youth violence, frustration with school, inability to learn.  

                            The curriculum is not just about opposing processed food.  It is about empowering students with the knowledge they are learning from nowhere else in their lives, presently, to pay attention to what their bodies and brains require.  It is also meant to educate our parents, so that they will support efforts made for community gardens, and attend zoning meetings where decisions about what kind of businesses will be allowed in get made.  (Presently, there is a thriving upper class waterfront.  I wrote a diary a while back about one of my former students who ate and ran with a group of her friends just to experience life on the other side).  It is also about addressing the  board of education, which turns a blind eye to the carbs we are loading these kids up with for breakfast (like the  "pink snowball" donut they serve once a week), and then to make matters worse we regularly give them "breakfast for lunch" (pancakes or french toast) on a weekly basis, and then frequently there is a "menu change".  

                            Students bring bottles of soda and red liquids instead of the water bottles I allow and provide in class.  They are hooked, it is a societal drug, much like the video games they can somehow afford even as they can't have healthy food.  I will be writing in the coming months about the research and presentations I will make, and the curriculum I am proposing.  If we don't teach people how their own biology works to help them survive optimally, what use is education at all.    

                          •  I'll look forward (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            reconnected, Karma for All

                            to reading your posts on this subject.

                            Have you read this post on systemic poverty --

                          •  Thank you, I had not. I have to admit I am pretty (0+ / 0-)

                            behind on the debate in academia.  I had a classroom that was 50% special needs this year and spent most of my time researching on their behalf, and on behalf of my two eldest children.  It's only recently that I've been peeking my head out as I reflect on the big picture.  

                            I guess I'm a Social Reformer (?)  Many, many times I wish that people in the debate could spend just a single week in my classroom with me, that goes for our administrators and directors as well.  

                            I was removed from a committee (!) that posited that poverty does not impact scores on standardized tests in an exploration of why the state cited us on disproportionate suspension of students of color.  Their answer was cultural diversity training, I could probably have done the training for them and thought they should delve deeper.  They were outside consultants from a prestigious university sent in to comply with state regulations.  I'd like them to spend a week in the classroom I was removed from for this, instead of the nice board room with the catered lunch.  

                            I despise reality shows, but I've got to say, I sometimes fantasize about one that depicts what is going on in our classrooms while academics argue.  

                            I have never seen so many people try to solve a problem without observing it on such a large scale, in all of my life.  Thank you again for the diary, I will go back and read the comments later.

                          •  Well, he's just one voice. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            FloridaSNMOM, reconnected

                            And just this morning, just here on DK, there was another piece on hunger --

                            And, of course, there's the world outside of DK. :)

                            I think when we on the left side of things try to discuss these things, we get caught up in good ideas about learning versus what might work in a poor public school setting. All the variations in SES and obstacles to learning that exist in our own thinking get mashed together and out comes the usual, "this is an idea that could work" versus "it won't work for everyone" or more reasonably, "that may work for you but it won't work in the face of poverty."

                            And then all the possibly good ideas are thrown out the window and the discussion devolves back to people only knowing their own little slice of things.

                            I'll talk about kids learning to make their own healthy decisions about food. You'll be thinking about the kids you see in your classroom who don't have that option.

                            Either we stalk away from each other, convinced the other one will never understand what we were saying (because we were both assuming the other was coming from the same point of view or didn't communicate enough about own own givens, etc.) or we get to some point of talking about how curriculum could be better or something we feel like we could get an actual handle on.

                            I'd like to hear more about what you have to say about how nutrition can be taught. But I am already wondering how that is going to get through or matter to a kid in a  food desert. Hoping it's not going to be the latest fad, new age whatever. Wondering how a teacher gets through a day of this. . .

                    •  ADHD combined with hypglycemic (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Karma for All, angelajean

                      is an interesting thing. My son has this, amongst other things. For him sugar in the morning is a necessity, but it has to be balanced with carbs and proteins. He can't have just sugar, though sometimes sugar has a calming affect on him (if his sugar is low he's more likely to rage). But it ALWAYS has to be balanced, quick and slow. It just makes life and diet even more interesting.  His favorite breakfast is actually a PB&J sandwich. He can make it quickly, before he crashes completely (from his sugar dropping while he's asleep), and it has carbs, sugar and protein.
                      But he very very rarely has things that are all quick or junk sugar. We had pizza and soda last night, but it was his birthday and he got to pick dinner. We also had Casein free brownies as he's allergic to Casein in lieu of a birthday cake. (Another treat he doesn't get often).

                      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                      by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 12:30:47 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Most poisonous: sugar on an empty (0+ / 0-)

                        stomach.  I read somewhere that this causes 5 hours of release of stress hormone.  Will try to dig up link.

                        •  He almost never eats just sugar (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Karma for All

                          Only if I he is really foggy and isn't waking up, and then he follows it quickly with slow sugar. If his sugar is very low (like in the 20's) I'll give him something very sugary, yes, to get him moving and going to eat something else, because otherwise we'll be in the hospital again. His sugar drops if he isn't eating every 4 hours, like when he's asleep. So yes, he sometimes needs that boost in the morning. But it's balanced it's not just sugar.

                          Seriously, sugar works differently for a hypoglycemic, even with the ADHD. He can't avoid it entirely it's not healthy. What we do is balance quick and slow sugars throughout the day. PB&J is a common one for him because it has quick sugar in the jelly, carbs in the bread (slower sugar) and protein in the peanut butter for stabilization. We've gotten really good at keeping his sugars level, and he's learned to make good food choices out of necessity. He gets much less sugar than most kids do, simply because it would mess with his balance.

                          It was more difficult before he was old enough for peanut butter. He's been hypoglycemic literally since he was born. Actually they theorize he was before he was born because I was during my pregnancy with him, and wasn't before or after.

                          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                          by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 01:36:03 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Very interesting, there have been (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            studies that show that ADHD kids process glucose much differently, and it is an avenue I have explored with my own children as well.  One was out of Yale in 1995, using PET scans the study showed that ADHD children wer less able to counteract the stressful effects on their brains of a high sugar meal.  They also noted a marked increase in physical activity (interpreted as their own self-adjustments to manufacturing norepinephrine from their adrenal glands.)  I  don't have this in digital format, here's the study:  (N.LO. Girardi, School of Medicine, Journal of Pediatric Research, Oct. '95)

                            The same elevation of norepeinephrine can happen from risk-taking in children.  

                            Glucos is of course necessary for the brain, but according to a study from Dr. Alan Zametkin, from the New England Journal of Medication in 1990, "there is a case that can be made for faulty glucose matabolism as the genetic link that causes ADHD to run in families."  If the glucose isn't processed correctly there are energy deficits and "garbled" neuron communications.  This is why stimulant work because the connect the neurons around channels, which clarifies the signals.  However, this does not address faulty sugar metabolism.

                            This is paraphrased from The ADD Nutrition Solution, by Marcia Zimmerman, which I've already recommended elsewhere.  

                            She poses that eating sugar actually lowers brain glucose becuause our bodies are not adapted to sugary foods, which causes sugary foods to register as stressful due to the rapid rise in blood glucose..the brain receives glucose but can't receive it because of the insulin rush.  If this happens without protein it produces exhaustion.  It's just as you say.

                          •  Except he's the type of ADHD where he can't have (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            angelajean, Karma for All

                            stimulants. They make him insanely worse. We tried Adderall once. He didn't sleep but a half hour a day, I had two concussions in five days, my other half had stitches three times, and he almost took out half a grocery store. He had much much worse screaming, combative melt downs from stimulants. Strattera worked for him when he was very young, enough for him to be able to benefit from other therapies. We also had to watch that we didn't give him anything that made him too dopey, because then he wouldn't wake up to eat and his sugar would drop to nothing (Prozac did this). He's been off all meds for five years.

                            When he was born his blood sugar dropped to 0 within 8-10 hours. He was in the NICU for 3 days. His sugars have never registered as high, but frequently low. It was.. interesting.. learning how to balance him when he was a toddler. Essentially we always had to have food out (cheerios were a common one) for him to snack on, no matter how close it was to a meal. As he got older and eventually learned to communicate (late), it got a bit easier. He learned to recognize the signs. But even now, if, for example it's hot out, it's not unusual for him to wake up, grab something to eat, and go back to sleep. We've spent 17 years now dealing with this. We've gotten pretty good at it :).

                            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                            by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 02:21:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I applaud you and understand (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            the level, of tenacity it takesto get your child's nutrition tailored.  It is this level of understanding I'd like to see future Americans armed with.  My project over the summer is to prepare a presentation advocating for nutrition for the brain education at all levels of education.  :)

                          •  Thank you, it hasn't been easy (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Karma for All

                            And it was another issue to deal with when he went to public school. A) they kept trying to give him milk when he is allergic (yes, they had several dr's notes to that effect) and B) he'd end up with "early lunch" which meant that by the time it was 2pm his sugar was dropping off again, and we kept having to fight to let him have the snacks we sent in, again even with Dr's notes. (because it wasn't fair to the other kids, nm without the snack we'd end up at the ER because by the time he got off the bus and home he was low enough he wouldn't wake up to eat)

                            Add that into all the other issues (High functioning autism, adhd, odd, sensory dysfunctions) and it was an insane system to deal with. And most of it was the fault of the system itself entirely. Some of it was a teacher here and there, encouraging bullying or refusing to give him snacks (especially subs on that one), but most often it was administration not wanting to deal with it or the expense of things he needed. He had several very good teachers that did the best they could for him. But in the end, homeschooling was the best educational decision we made for him.

                            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                            by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 02:47:08 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yes, it is this type of ignorance that (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            is driving me to get on my local BOE's agenda next fall for a series of presentations.  Under IDEA, your son deserved these accommodations.  Most parents don't have time to pursue lawsuits so this is what happens.  

                          •  The article is at (0+ / 0-)

                            Regular Article

                            Pediatric Research (1995) 38, 539–542; doi:10.1203/00006450-199510000-00011
                            Blunted Catecholamine Responses after Glucose Ingestion in Children with Attention Deficit Disorder

                            Nancy L Girardi 1, Sally E Shaywitz 1, Bennett A Shaywitz 1, Karen Marchione 1, Steven J Fleischman 1, Timothy W Jones 1 and William V Tamborlane 1

                            1 Department of Pediatrics and The Children's Clinical Research Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510

                            Busting the Dog Whistle code.

                            by Mokurai on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 01:42:47 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  What scale are you measuring his sugar on? (0+ / 0-)

                            If I were to drop down to 40 mg/dl I would be out cold.

                            Busting the Dog Whistle code.

                            by Mokurai on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 01:36:40 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I know, 40 is really really low (0+ / 0-)

                            And it's rare he falls that low any longer. But it has happened a time or two. I don't think I've ever seen his sugar go over 95. At 40 he's semi-conscious and if I catch it quick I can get some sugar into him (often soda), enough for him to wake up and eat something more substantial. This is what we've been dealing with his whole life.
                            Now that he's older, can recognize the signs of it dropping, verbalize what he needs, and take steps on his own to resolve it his sugar stays balanced a lot better. When he was younger and mostly non-verbal and almost purely echolic when he was verbal it was a LOT harder.
                            I admit I was one of those parents who would give my kid a snack when he started fussing in the grocery line. But that was because at that point I didn't know for sure if it was a true temper tantrum or his sugar getting low, especially if it was getting close to meal time. I didn't do the same with my daughter because she doesn't have the same medical issues.

                            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                            by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 01:54:05 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  And I realize I said 20's earlier (0+ / 0-)

                            keep in mind I was working from my very very faulty math memory. I went back and looked it up since then, it was 40's not 20's. My brain doesn't like numbers, and rarely remembers them correctly.

                            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                            by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 01:56:05 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  Here's the link (0+ / 0-)
                          Those days when you overindulge in sweet confections—be they decadent ice cream, two or three chocolate truffles, a huge slice of blueberry pie, a fistful of peanut butter cookies, or a twelve-ounce soft drink—you potentially trigger a boost in stress hormones that will last the shockingly long time of five hours. Five hours! During this time your body is coping with excess insulin and suffers a depletion of healthy glucose levels.
              •  This might be true (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FloridaSNMOM, reconnected

                for children who have had their diets restricted before being given the freedom to choose. Like TV viewing, this one comes up a lot in unschooling circles.

                If your child knows they are allowed to choose what they eat and they have good choices presented and not all junk, over time they will make good choices, with a bit of junk thrown in.

                This is not the same as hollering into the next room to see if your kids would prefer ice cream or meat loaf.

                It is a long-term approach to personal autonomy, mutual respect and self-respect. It goes hand in hand with an environment full of information about healthy food and other choices.

                It does not fit with all parenting styles, obviously. :)

                •  Sure they will. (0+ / 0-)

                  Prove it.

                  You can't.

                  I grant that it might be true.

                  I seriously doubt it.

                  But either way, you do not have proof. No such proof exists.

                  You are simply uttering your hopeful philosophy of human psychology.

                  I simply cannot abide the smugness of people who have been successful with such approaches.

                  To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                  by UntimelyRippd on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 05:02:55 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm simply (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    FloridaSNMOM, reconnected

                    reporting on my life and the similar experiences of others. There is no "proof" either way. There are different ways to try to live better. This one will not work if you are too frightened to try it.

                    Which is why I think a lot of people are trapped in a public school system that is not working for them. Inside the system and out, they are frightened they will screw up if they try something different that isn't all about control and accountability. Good luck with that.

              •  There is evidence to the contrary n/t (0+ / 0-)

                Busting the Dog Whistle code.

                by Mokurai on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 01:05:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Waters, and The Wall, for what it's worth ... (5+ / 0-)

            While this may be somewhat off topic to the original diary, I thought I would add to this branch of the thread something I ran across last week.  Two years ago, Waters wrote a short piece about himself and writing The Wall, on the website for his current production of The Wall.  Some excerpts ...

            30 Years ago when I wrote The Wall I was a frightened young man. Well not that young, I was 36 years old.

            It took me a long time to get over my fears. Anyway, in the intervening years it has occurred to me that maybe the story of my fear and loss with it’s concomitant inevitable residue of ridicule, shame and punishment, provides an allegory for broader concerns.: Nationalism, racism, sexism, religion, Whatever! All these issues and ‘isms are driven by the same fears that drove my young life.


            In some quarters .. there exists a cynical view that human beings as a collective are incapable of developing more ‘humane’ ie, kinder, more generous, more cooperative, more empathetic relationships with one another.

            I disagree.

            In my view it is too early in our story to leap to such a conclusion, we are after all a very young species. I believe we have at least a chance to aspire to something better than the dog eat dog ritual slaughter that is our current response to our institutionalized fear of each other. I feel it is my responsibility as an artist to express my, albeit guarded, optimism, and encourage others to do the same. To quote the great man, ”You may say that I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.”

            •  Fair enough ... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              but remember how "the great man" treated his first child.

              I'm contemplating writing a diary about Steve Jobs -- another narcissist who created some extraordinary things, but an individual whose craving for control made him, in practice, the enemy of ordinary people. The working title: "Steve Jobs was John Galt."

              To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

              by UntimelyRippd on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:39:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Also, he's a musician, a message person, (0+ / 0-)

                operating from a set of ideals evolving from his own experience, not really that helpful in solving today's issues.  For some reason, everyone is fine with deferring to their doctor, their lawyer, their dentist for expert advice, but when it comes to education, simply having been in a school seems to qualify as relevant expertise.    

          •  I see the meat and pudding line calling out... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            angelajean, zedaker

            the use of behavioral techniques - rewards and punishments - as an externally directed tool to steer human development.  I am not a big fan of rewards and punishments in the realm of human development.

            Cooper Zale Los Angeles

            by leftyparent on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:00:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  and yet, it is at the very crux of impulse (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              control and brain development (the understanding of rewards and punishment, ie; immediate gratification, the development of the pre-frontal cortex in terms of proper decision making and impulse control), which is paramount in understanding why our society is experiencing so many issues with learning these days.  We call them rewards and consequences, and I am spending most of my life educating my students and own children as to how life works in counterbalance to the messaging they are receiving from society as a whole which is telling them they can have and do it all at their whim, 24/7, with no regard whatsoever to their physical or mental limitations and needs.  

              •  Biology doesn't care about our ideals. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Karma for All

                No more than does physics.

                We are creatures of our environment -- but as you elucidate in some of your other comments, we have managed to alter our environment to such an extent that it is no longer in sync with our biology.

                To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                by UntimelyRippd on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 11:19:57 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I hear you about the consumerism... (5+ / 0-)

                but I think impulse control is much better when the person with the impulse learns to control themselves rather than expect others to do it for them.  

                I think school can program kids to wait for external direction and the rewards and punishments that go with that direction.  IMO that primes kids to be not so thoughtful consumers.

                Cooper Zale Los Angeles

                by leftyparent on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 11:48:53 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  You've got to dig deeper to "get it". (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            reconnected, angelajean, Nance

            Listen to the tone of voice of the teacher.  It isn't about educating a child about what is appropriate nutrition.  It's about sadism and powerlust and the subjugation of those not able to defend themselves.  And listen to the lyrics, it's about acting out the same behavior visited upon them by others, transferring it to the less powerful.  The wife thrashes the husband and the husband thrashes the child.  This is a metaphor for similar behavior across our whole society.  It's a sick dysfunction and school is only one institution in which it occurs.  Just because an institution has a noble purpose doesn't mean it always achieves its goal by noble means.  Welcome to the machine.

            The thing is, you see what you want to see, and you hear what you want to hear. Dig? - The Rock Man

            by BalanceSeeker on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 01:00:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Has it occurred to you that Waters' (0+ / 0-)

              characterization might perhaps be ... subjective? And even ... inaccurate?

              To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

              by UntimelyRippd on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 05:00:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I knew the character of British schools (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                before "The Wall" even came out.  So, while the characterization is indeed subjective, there is accuracy there for many people.  And it's a story, about a character, but still it has found widespread resonance for a reason.  My mother was a teacher, and a good one, and she loved The Wall and related to ABITW in particular from her experience in schools and how some teachers can be.  I experienced it myself a few times in school and many times outside of school.  You haven't?

                Has it occurred to you that your characterization of Waters as "narcissist of the first order" might be subjective?  And even...inaccurate?

                The thing is, you see what you want to see, and you hear what you want to hear. Dig? - The Rock Man

                by BalanceSeeker on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 06:28:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  There's really not much point in debating (0+ / 0-)

                  with a fanboy, so instead I will suggest one small exercise in epistemological perambulation: Try Googling "Roger Waters" "narcissist".

                  My characterization might be subjective, but it's a subjective perception shared by a whole lot of other people.

                  To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                  by UntimelyRippd on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 08:51:04 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  Small groups, varying ages, teach to interests (15+ / 0-)

    How many times does this have to be reinvented. Kids who were educated used to be educated that way exclusively, though most kids were not educated back then. Only the wealthy were able to afford a tutor to teach their children.

    Maria Montessori had a more modern take on this, but her views are rarely if ever considered in public education settings.

    This is why home schooling can work very well. The tutor, generally the parent, is paying attention to the children and their interests all the time. Once you get past a few kids in the 'classroom' it becomes very difficult to customize.

    The GOP is the party of mammon. They mock what Jesus taught.

    by freelunch on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 06:46:38 AM PDT

    •  And the unschooling variant of homeschooling... (8+ / 0-)

      can work too when the parent surrenders the "tutor" hat and dons more of a "facilitator" hat.

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles

      by leftyparent on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 07:05:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is why we're working so hard to bring this (6+ / 0-)

      up at DailyKos. We at Education Alternatives felt that something was missing in the conversation. Hopefully you'll join us for more, maybe even help us keep writing about topics that push back on more reform that is only repeating the same old system.

    •  This is wonderful, for students with parents who (14+ / 0-)

      can afford to do this.  It does not work for my students though, whose parents are often reliant on that time in school to work low-paying jobs.  

      I have advocated very hard for inclusion classes throughout my district, but that is financially unviable due to the fact that two teachers attend to meet the needs of a mix of abilities.  We really should have this available to all students.

      If public schools were able to return to tract teaching for at least part of the day, teachers could work with one another to educate students at their own levels.  Right now, in order to accomplish small group learning in a classroom a teacher on his/her own is advised to spend more time with below-level students, and to create self-guided lessons for the enriched students.  Due to issues with behavior, this may not always be viable, and I personally feel as if I am not meeting the needs of all of my students if I cannot lead the enrichment group with equity in time to the other students.    

      It is beneficial for students of varying levels to learn together throughout the day, but it would also be beneficial for teachers to be allowed to ability group students across grade levels for other parts of the day.  This is usually frowned upon as former ideas about integrating ability levels dominate public education.  

      Unfortunately,  I am simply an educator with a degree and experience.  People from the private business sector are currently funding and making educational reforms as I am part of the problem, apparently.  (snark)   My recommendations are not solicited, and would not be valued in present day education, I have tried.  (not snark)  

      •  you've said this very well (3+ / 0-)

        and while I agree about the affordability, homeschooling can be done very, very cheaply.

        at the same time, I also think you've raised an issue that is very important for liberals to consider...where is the line between doing for our own, and helping the whole system?

        In our case, I tried many things and many ways to make the public system work for my kids, and it didn't.  The question became, how long and hard do I fight for the whole thing while my own children are languishing?

        At some point, I had to choose their education with the reality that they only get one shot at being a kid, one shot at setting the learning patterns for life.

        But I truly want the public system to get better, and when I'm done schooling my own, I will focus my attention there.

        Angelajean is a wonder woman who can do it all at once, I, alas cannot!!

        If you took the greed out of Wall Street all you’d have left is pavement ~Robert Reich

        by k8dd8d on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 08:21:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  And it isn't just about socioeconomics. (5+ / 0-)

        Something successful homeschoolers (and unschoolers like leftyparent) consistently refuse to accommodate in their enthusiasm for the model is that it won't work for many, and perhaps most, children, because of the particular characteristics of either the children, the parents, or both. I've met plenty of home schoolers, but I've never met a left-wing home-schooler who was not of above-average intelligence, and whose children were not of above-average intelligence.

        I've met some right-wing home-schoolers who did not fit that profile, of course -- but their children weren't actually being educated, so they're evidence in favor of my claim, not against it.

        The simple reality is that most people are ignorant, semiliterate anti-intellectuals; and of course, by definition half of all children are of below-average intelligence. While it is clearly true that an education system that produces a population composed largely of ignorant, semiliterate anti-intellectuals is not doing what it ought to be doing, it is comparably true that the solution cannot possibly be to turn over education of the children to their ignorant, semiliterate anti-intellectual parents.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 08:36:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Many times, parents themselves have precisely (4+ / 0-)

          the same issues that may be keeping their children from learning.  For example, ADHD is believed to be linked to both genetics and family environmental structure.

          It's a gamble to expect that parents can better educate their children if this is the case, especially if they aren't themselves cognizant of their own issues or the family's issues.  Sometimes, they are able to understand how a child thinks, and sometimes they are simply fostering the issue and making it worse.  

          •  Indeed, I was taking the absolutely worst, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Karma for All

            most offensive tack that I could -- an elitist one, expressed with a clear sense of contempt. However, one doesn't have to be elitist to observe that teaching a child isn't necessarily easy, and that some people simply aren't going to be able to do it -- especially if the child and parent have behavioral traits (shared or otherwise) that do not play well together.

            Every satisfied home-schooler I've ever met was either:

            A. A very well-educated (formally or otherwise) and intelligent person, with very intelligent children,


            B. An idiot.

            I have also met some people who explicitly said, "I like the idea of home schooling, but I know that I couldn't handle it," and to have this wise self-knowledge pooh-pooh'ed by the of-course-you-can-you-just-have-to-believe-you-can-do-it-and-anyway-all-you-need-to-do-is-facilitate crowd is at least as elitist and condescending as anything in my rant about semiliterates and ignorami.

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:23:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I wish I knew (4+ / 0-)

              the path forward for all young people in the US.  I think we all agree that what we have isn't working and we're trying to discuss what else could be done.

              The thing is, there are many aspects and when I (we) get into back and forth comments I think that each of us carries our assumptions in the background into what we're saying and then we argue the words without knowing the assumptions.

              For example, many people assume that homeschooling means the parent teaching a curriculum with subjects such as math and English and science to their child in their home.  For many families it works just that way.  But for many others it does not and with unschooling it most certainly does not.  So when someone says "I like the idea of home schooling, but I know that I couldn't handle it" we really don't know what their idea of home schooling is that makes them think they couldn't handle it.

              But even though we don't know, we are guilty often of answering anyway based on our assumptions.  And I can see how that might look like pooh-poohing.  So we might answer with some variation of what you said UntimelyRippd, thinking it helpful.  I would like to think that I am trying to be helpful rather than elitist, but I can see that we could probably all benefit from stepping back and wondering about assumptions, and asking about them in our comments.

              Of course parents vary in the amount and type of time they want to spend with the young people in their lives.  I just want to be clear about what someone thinks that means with respect to homeschooling or unschooling.

              The other key thing though with a path forward is that there are things to be learned from alternatives that can be applied more generally.  It has come up in our homeschooling/unschooling diaries about what can be learned from that experience and applied to other learning environments.

              For me, the biggest paradigm shift happened around the idea of intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation.  Public school is usually all about extrinsic motivation and control.  To me that is a paradigm that views humans as untrustworthy, as needing to be controlled (often through threat of violence) and made to do things.  I don't think that is the optimal view for designing environments in which young humans develop and unfold into their highest potential.

              From my experience, our development is fostered in environments that support our innate curiosity and drive to learn as well as our drive for autonomy and agency.  In those environments we take ownership of our learning and life because we naturally want to become effective adults, we learn and take on challenging tasks because we want to, because it is satisfying to us, because we choose it.  Not because we have to get a good grade, because we'll be punished if we don't do our homework, because we have to learn biology by tenth grade.

              I would like public school to be non compulsory, to be democratic, to be places where the learners are learning all the time because it is their life they are living and sometimes that can be more formally done through what and how and when they choose to learn something or informally through conversation, reading, playing, cooking, etc.

              •  Here's the bottom line: (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Karma for All

                Anyone who thinks "unschooling" will work for all, or even most, or even very many children, thinks so because it worked for their children and/or the other successful unschoolers with whom they associate.

                And anyone with any significant experience with the breadth of human behavior knows that unschooling for most children will result in a society of illiterate, innumerate, ignorant "why should i learn about this, it's boring" people -- basically, a whole country of Sarah Palins. It "works" -- to the extent that it does work, and I'm simply granting that it does -- only if you sufficiently narrow the population to whom it is applied, or if you broaden the definition of education to be, "whatever anybody happens to learn between birth and death".

                The moment you allow a child to have control over decisions that have momentous downstream implications for that child, you are skating on very, very, very thin ice. Should it be up to an 8-year-old whether to indulge in recreational drugs? Or to brush her teeth each evening? Or to bathe regularly? Or to dress appropriately for the weather? Should it be up to a 12-year-old whether to have sexual intercourse? Or transgender surgery? Or breast augmentation? Or breast reduction? Or prophylactic mastectomy? Or rhinoplasty? Or whether to quit school and move to Hollywood to become an actress? Or whether to donate to the homeless the money that is being saved for college? Or to have a large tattoo on her face? (What if it's a tattoo of a swastika?) Or to dance wildly, two feet from a campfire? Or to starve herself? Or to cut herself? Or to eat a bottle of phenobarbitol? Or to have a few beers and then go swimming? Or to text while driving?

                Children are generally impulsive and foolish creatures, lacking knowledge, sophistication, self-awareness, self-discipline, and self-control. They have only the dimmest comprehension of physical and social reality, being highly subject to delusions induced by glamor, charisma, and their most immediate urges. There are reasons that Ayn Rand is so popular among adolescents.

                Regrettably, for far too many people, not that much changes as they become adults -- and that is the largest failing of our educational system.

                To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                by UntimelyRippd on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 11:44:12 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well, prefrontal cortex isn't done developing (0+ / 0-)

                  until mid/late twenties, this area is responsible for decision making and impulse control...teens get same charge out of taking risks that people using cocaine do...I'd say that kind of implies we're supposed to be guiding our youth.  So, yeah, you're right.  The reason it doesn't change is that the neuro-pathways have been laid wrong.

                  The prefrontal cortex is one of the last regions of the brain to reach maturation. This delay may help to explain why some adolescents act the way they do. The so-called “executive functions” of the human prefrontal cortex include:

                  Focusing attention
                  Organizing thoughts and problem solving
                  Foreseeing and weighing possible consequences of behavior
                  Considering the future and making predictions
                  Forming strategies and planning
                  Ability to balance short-term rewards with long term goals
                  Shifting/adjusting behavior when situations change
                  Impulse control and delaying gratification
                  Modulation of intense emotions
                  Inhibiting inappropriate behavior and initiating appropriate behavior
                  Simultaneously considering multiple streams of information when faced with complex and challenging information
                  This brain region gives an individual the capacity to exercise “good judgment” when presented with difficult life situations. Brain research indicating that brain development is not complete until near the age of 25, refers specifically to the development of the prefrontal cortex.3

                •  I think you are mistaking (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  reconnected, angelajean

                  unschooling for a lack of parenting. No, unschooling isn't for all children. I'm not a pure unschooler myself, though they do get some input, it's more in choices between things than purely their own choices, because unschooling wouldn't work for my autistic adhd odd child with impulse control issues. He'd never get around to school work, he needs some structure.
                  It may work when my daughter is older, I don't know yet. It depends on her as she grows. She does pick out which books she reads from the library though. We don't force her to read a particular book for reading. We also let her help pick which science subject to tackle next, and pick out videos and books in that subject and her social studies.

                  But I don't think anyone here is advocating just letting kids and teens run wild and make all their own choices about everything with no consequences. I don't think anyone here is advocating allowing a child to make unsafe choices.

                  You're taking unschooling into hyperbole, perhaps you should go back and read some of the previous homeschool diaries that explain what unschooling is.

                  "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                  by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 12:56:32 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Understood (by me) but (0+ / 0-)

                    where does that leave the public system?  Withdrawing from it makes good sense for your kids, I know.  But, teachers need parents to help us pressure our higher-ups to accommodate all learners, and taking them out of school will not help.  I completely understand your decision though.

                    To some degree, as well, it is important to balance home schooling and unschooling with the realities of the world students will encounter, as it is now, warts and all.  Parents who do this should have a careful plan for the transition into life kids will need.  As my dad told me long ago, and as my own children learned, there is no free lunch and all kids have to learn how to manage systems, even broken ones, that will rule them.  This will mean doing things they don't want to do, that will force them to adjust and yes, conform.

                    As I had to tell my lovelies, there are just so many openings for rock star and abstract artist in the world, and even if you could get those jobs, you're going to have to be able to make appointments on time, do things you don't want to do, cope with disappointment, handle anxiety, and balance your checkbook.  :)  

                    •  Sometimes (3+ / 0-)

                      You have to find a career that works for you, rather than trying to force yourself into one that won't. Not everyone is capable of conforming to any particular system. The key is finding one you can. If that means you work third shift as IT rather than in an office cubicle 9-5, then so be it.  There are choices beyond the traditional even in the working world, and they aren't all rock star jobs.

                      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                      by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 01:44:02 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  No free lunch (4+ / 0-)

                      Assumptions again.  The point is, how to learn to be responsible in terms of managing work, appointments, etc. in life.  I may be wrong but from your post it sounds as if you think these things aren't learned through home/unschooling?

                      In unschooling, young people are living their lives right now, not learning about life in school and waiting until they get out of school to encounter it.  They make appointments, they often get part time jobs, they often volunteer for work exposure, they take on projects with deadlines.  In addition, it is their responsibility to make things happen so they develop initiative.  

                      Sure, they may ask for help in how to go about making something happen, but it's up to them to figure out what they want and go about getting it, whether it's taking a community college class, organizing their friends to do something, figuring out if they want to go college and what it will take to get there, etc.

                      •  No, clearly home/unschooling is entered (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        into for many different reasons and you can't make a blanket statement about how it turns out.  I think you missed:  

                        Parents who do this should have a careful plan for the transition into life kids will need.
                        Sounds like you, personally, have one.
                      •  Yeah? (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Karma for All

                        And what happens if they don't make appointments, don't get part time jobs, don't volunteer for work exposure, don't take on projects with deadlines? What happens if they fail to accept and satisfy the responsibility to make things happen? What happens if they lack the behavioral and intellectual capacities to take on these responsibilities? What happens if they make the dumbass choices that we can expect most children to make, given that most children lack the necessary practical experience of the world AND the necessary book-larnin' in order to make wise decisions?

                        The idea that the average 10-year-old, 12-year-old, 14-year-old, or even 16-year-old is properly equipped to make these choices freely is ludicrous. The average 16-year-old would watch a hundred episodes of Twilight, but would never willingly sit through Shakespeare.

                        Again: People who think this is a practical approach think so because they are a self-selected group for whom it works. Epistemologically, they are no different from conservatives who say, "I worked my up from nothing, why can't those people."

                        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                        by UntimelyRippd on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 09:37:12 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I think you underestimate the 16 year olds. (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          reconnected, Karma for All

                          My son voluntarily watches his copy of Hamlet several times a week. What he won't willingly watch is Twilight. And, he doesn't even understand Shakespeare, but he's determined to. (speech and language difficulties plus arcane English is a big problem) This was his own decision, to watch it over and over until he could understand it. And while he understands the basic plot, and can quote it, he still doesn't grasp much of the language. I didn't force him to do this. It's something he wants to do, something he wants to learn.

                          Granted, he's not an average 16 year old (well 17 as of Friday), instead he's got a list of disabilities, had been taught to hate learning while in public school (took 2 years to undo), and had to overcome many things in his young life. Even so, he has the ability to decide to learn Shakespeare rather than watch something easier (like Burn Notice, or Teen Titans, or the  Sand Lot, all of which he owns on DVD as well).

                          And he's not even unschooled in the literal sense, we do eclectic homeschooling that's much more parent guided than unschooling.

                          I think UntimelyRipped, your philosophy of teaching and children are always going to differ, and we're just going to have to agree to disagree here. I have much more confidence in my children's ability to make good choices than you have. I do step in when they make disastrous ones, and I don't expect every choice they make to be perfect. But I don't believe making every choice for them is the best way to prepare them for adulthood either.

                          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                          by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 10:05:36 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  Well, if its about undiagnosed or untreated/ (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:

                          mistreated ADHD sent off to university I can answer that one.

                          What happens is you send your beautiful, smiling, child off to a four year institution with a stunning scholarship.  After the first semester he asks you to come home and you say "No, you have a great opportunity, keep trying."  Four years later, he's never quite gotten that scholarship back, but you both are now looking at 80K in loans, no degree, and a kid on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  He couldn't cope with organizing at any level necessary to attend classes and pass, let alone hold a job.  Then, you start to regret that you made it all about nurturing the great talent without developing the common sense boring-life skills you should have along the way, especially when it hits critical mass and moves to months of depression.  Finally, you get the right diagnosis done, the one you should have done back when you made excuses instead, and you start from scratch.  We're a full year away from the day I found my son sitting in a car in a parking lot, having gone missing at his school just before graduation.  He lied all along to make us think it was all going very well.  Now we're down to how to understand limits, so that he and his sister (another story) can function in the world.  We had to start with just getting to and from the therapists office on time, and even then he would miss appointments and lie about them.  Now, he's taking a couple of classes a semester closer to home and holding down a job.  I wish to god I hadn't let his talent outshine the fact that he needed help to navigate life.  But I am very, very grateful for learning it about it at all, albeit later than I should have.  I won't be turning an unarmed adult out into the world.  The lessons are more tedious than you can imagine...fill out a weekly schedule, choose a small goal, like keep your clothes off the floor for a week..but they are happening.  No amount of withdrawal was going to help my son function.  He has an utterely brilliant mind, but no coping skills having not faced disappointments about himself until his 20's that had they revealed earlier would have prepared him much better for life.  They did not reveal because as a parent I was busy filling in the gaps in deference to said great talent and brillliance and let him miss the very experiences we needed to diagnose him properly.  

                          We all make mistakes.  

                    •  I would love to see you (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      reconnected, Karma for All

                      write something for this series about how this should work -- "teachers need parents to help us pressure our higher-ups to accommodate all learners".

                  •  I'm suggesting that education doesn't enjoy (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Karma for All

                    a privileged status with respect to other sorts of choices children are or are not allowed to make. The whole point of my comment is that no unschooler (or at least, no sane unschooler) would suggest that a 12-year-old girl should be allowed to have a swastika tattooed across the middle of her face; yet every unschooler "respects" the wisdom and independence of a child to make similarly, but more subtly, life-determining choices.

                    For most children, unschooling would be an unmitigated disaster.

                    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                    by UntimelyRippd on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 05:07:48 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  So you're saying a 12 year old can't make choices? (3+ / 0-)

                      Can't make valid choices? A 12 year old can't decide say, not to try drugs a friend brings to school? A 12 year old can't decide to step in and stand up for someone being bullied? What about hair style? Can a 12 year old reasonably decide what hair style to wear? Where do you draw the line? Because personally, I believe it depends on the 12 year old. I know 12 year olds I'd trust to make all of those decisions, and some I'd trust only with the last one.

                      Some 12 year olds may be able to decide if they want to take say, Spanish as opposed to German or Consumer math as opposed to pre-algebra. Or Chemistry or Biology. Some may not be ready for those decisions. The point is, in this case, the parent knows what their child is capable of. Not every child will thrive under unschooling. No one is saying every child will. Some however do fine, some excel.

                      Personally at 12 I would be letting my child make some of those decisions, the ones they were ready to make. My 9 year old makes some of her own decisions now, like what hair style she wants and which subject from a list she wants to study next.

                      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                      by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 06:09:06 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Indeed, it depends *critically* on the (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Karma for All

                        12-year-old, which is the primary argument I'm making.

                        Beyond that, we desperately hope that a 12-year-old can decide not to take the drugs that somebody brings to school; but we also tell the 12-year-olds -- all of them -- that they are forbidden to bring the drugs to school, and we try to inform them a priori about the possible individual consequences of using the drugs, rather than leaving it up to them to decide whether it's a question worth learning more about before making a decision on the matter. Personally, I favor laws that forbid the sale of tobacco to minors. No, I don't think that makes me an authoritarian "adultist" who does not sufficiently "respect" the autonomy of children -- I think it makes me a sensible adult who recognizes the obligation of all adults to teach what they know, and to protect children from their own immaturity.

                        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                        by UntimelyRippd on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 09:43:55 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  True enough (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Karma for All

                          But sometimes forbidding something just makes kids want it more. It's better to teach them why making the choice against it is best for them. It's better to teach the child how to protect themselves. And it's better to let the child grow up by giving them the choices they are capable of making and letting them learn from mistakes as well as good choices.

                          I'm all for laws that forbid the sale of drugs and alcohol and tobacco to minors. I'm not fool enough to believe that will stop children from having access to them. That's why my children know why those things are bad for them, what the consequences would be of using them, and what I expect from them. I  have much hope that they would make the correct choice in such a situation. But if you don't teach them to make choices, then they won't know what to do when they're faced with it, and you can't be there looking over their shoulder 24/7, even if you home school.

                          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                          by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 11:11:33 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  The 12 year old's mind, though, is being flooded (0+ / 0-)

                            with messages that are making the risky decision to do that drug much, much more appealing than the decision would be to an adult mind.

                            That's the part kids really need to understand.  There has to be a balance between the two, a kind of guided risk taking in order for teen brains to grow effectively.  I did a lot of this with my kids, but the "positive risks" were all about performing and visual arts, I was very supportive of every group, club, class, social protests, etc. they took on.  

                            What I missed was that I really should have had them juggle those with the tedium of everyday life tasks and functioning within a system (it didn't help that their high school also found them brilliant and talented and gave them chance after to chance to turn in assignments, go to prom even with missed classes, etc., which I supported at the time, they were 'very busy' after all).  I should have let them fall down and reap some consequences for not having things set up for them.  I see this reflected when my son or daughter loses their cool with things like jury duty, motor vehicle, traffic tickets, paying bills, banks, etc.  Beyond the  ADHD, and because of it in some respects, they just have this idea that the world is messed up and they don't have to participate in the aspects of it that are.   This is why my son would not call his own guidance counselor again if the counselor didn't answer the first time.  It took a long time to show them that they are not hurting anyone but themselves and that the adult world is not likely to change to accommodate them.  

                          •  Exactly my point (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            you have to teach kids how to make choices, that includes weighing pros and cons, especially on important ones. Yes, you help guide it where necessary, and that depends on the developmental age of the child and what they're capable of. But you can't just say "you're 12 I'm not letting you decide anything" or "you're 16, I don't trust you to know what course you need." It depends on the child. And only the parent really knows what that child is capable of. If you never trust your child to make important decisions, then how are they going to learn to make them before you aren't there to guide them.

                            If I understand the basis of unschooling correctly, it's about talking over the child's choices with the child, helping where they need help, advising, and then letting them choose. That doesn't mean you let them run wild, it doesn't mean they don't have consequences, that means teaching them how to make good choices.

                            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                            by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 12:08:44 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  Are you a parent? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Karma for All, FloridaSNMOM

                  And/or work with young people in some capacity?

                  Children are generally impulsive and foolish creatures, lacking knowledge, sophistication, self-awareness, self-discipline, and self-control. They have only the dimmest comprehension of physical and social reality, being highly subject to delusions induced by glamor, charisma, and their most immediate urges. There are reasons that Ayn Rand is so popular among adolescents.
                  I disagree.  But to the degree we create our own realities we may each indeed be experiencing the reality we advocate.  

                  I believe that often what you see is what you get.  So if you believe that children are foolish and you treat them that way, they are highly likely to oblige you and become that very thing.  Self-fulfilling prophecy.  Or they could completely rebel, fulfilling the prophecy of their wrong headedness and need to be even more strictly controlled.

                  The common wisdom is that the teens are terrible years for the parent/teen relationship, filled with rebellion and difficult communication.  It just seems to me that that is created.  I didn't experience that with my teens and I know lots of other people who related to their teens differently and didn't experience it either.

                  I would rather live in the reality where we treat each other from birth with respect, that we see each other as independent beings at every age with our own path to unfold, that sees and interacts with each other as capable beings, that takes the stance that parents are guardians, not owners.  And I do.  Does that sound smug?  It's not meant to just feels better to me live in this reality I'm creating.  My two kids have turned out to be respectful, thoughtful, hard working, intelligent, creative, interesting young adults...or so others tell me.

                  So I tend to believe that this is not just a one-off and that indeed there are things in this reality that can apply to others.

                  •  You are both right. (0+ / 0-)

                    Untimely Ripped is making the point that unschooling and home schooling will only work for a select few, you may actually be part of the select few.

                    As to the teenage years, neurologically speaking, from 13-mid twenties are utterly tumultuous times due to the changes and development of the pre-frontal cortex.

                    I thought my kids were A-OK until I sent them off to college.  Much is masked by the homefront, and my kids were public school children.  My son was an honor's student who won a huge scholarship, my daughter presented as more interested in social than learning, but still did well in high school.  Their symptoms did not present until they went into the world.  I say this not to discourage you, but to share in an honest way my experience and perhaps save some parents who don't have the ideal transfer for twenty somethings the defeat that almost took our family down.  It is my own subjective experience, but I do think that many parents discount the fact that their children are STILL at a disadvantage for impulse control and decision making in their early twenties naturally, and that some issues don't become apparent until your child leaves your haven and tries to make it work away from home.  It also speaks to an "alternative" consideration that may be hard for parents to look at.  Perhaps there are deeper reasons than curriculum that students are struggling in school, and maybe (not suggesting you, but it is possible), maybe removing them from the setting without really ruling out other issues like learning disabilities, ADHD, etc. could be detrimental.  

                    In many, many ways, these years have been our most difficult as parents.  (Sorry everyone, it is true.)  I fully admit that even as a special educator, even with a husband with ADHD, I completely missed the fact that my own children had the same issue by overcompensating and micromanaging them, by making excuses for why I had to walk my son through his college admission forms (he's just so busy), by ignoring my daughter's cuts from class (she's just obsessed with social standing).  There is time ahead parents, where you will see how your parenting has helped, how it has hindered, and what you may still need to help with.  Everyone does what they think is best for their own particular child, but the final proof in technique is truly the final outcome.

                    My kids are 22 and 21, and we are still developing.  This is fine because as it turns out, so are their brains.  

                    •  Teen years (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Karma for All, reconnected

                      With my son,  his teen years have been SO much easier than his earlier years. Maybe because his disabilities manifested in toddlerhood and we've been working on managing them all this time. I think his most difficult years were pre-school and elementary. That was when he was overwhelmed, overstimulated, bullied at school and coming home having violent physical outbursts that destroyed property, tore out other people's hair, and sometimes broke bones or bit people (sometimes requiring stitches).

                      Now that he's a teen, he has MUCH better control over himself. He has management techniques in place to help him when he gets stressed and over stimulated. He may get moody and stomp around sometimes, or swear at someone, but let me tell you after his early years, those are things I can easily ignore. He has a much better social life now too and even a girlfriend. We spend a lot of time together, have many interesting and well thought out discussions, and I have much more hope now for his future than I did when he was 7 or 8.

                      I know he's going to have trouble as an adult, any shift is hard for him and I don't expect that to be easy. I've seen what his biological father has gone through as well. But I have much more confidence that we will be able to figure it out and navigate the hurdles of adulthood than I used to.

                      Now my daughter, she is going to be an entirely different thing most likely. She's my social one and the drama queen. She's the one I can see rebelling as a teen and getting into trouble. But, we'll see when the time comes.

                      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                      by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 06:53:50 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Don't you wish you could go back in time (0+ / 0-)

                        and tell old you this day would come?  You got on board in THE most important developmental time for your son, kudos to you.  I was reading last week that up until age three something like 50-75% of the calories a child eats actually goes directly to brain development, imagine how busy those little minds are!  I get a lot of flack for saying so, but I don't believe our parenting stops at 20 either, to me, for all kids, that is when the greatest facilitating must take place, and it is the hardest time of all.  You have to be a safety net, but you can't orchestrate.  You have to be ready to pick up pieces and hope the falls are not so great.  I fully believe that in recognizing this time as a time to train them ultimately in self reflection, that I am giving them years of their adult lives.  

                        About the interventions in early childhood, one thing I have really been regretting is not having my older kids (whom I did not breastfeed) take the Neuromin supplements my pediatrician recommended throughout childhood.  At the time, I was a pretty young mom myself (23, and then 25 for birth of my second).  I did try to give them the supplements, they still talk about me trying to empty the capsules into their OJ.  But they complained so much about it, I gave up.  I've recently learned that after a mom gives birth, LCP's (fatty acids, Omega 3's, etc.) are depleted.  No one told me in 89 or 91 that I should be supplementing these (I had another child in 2006, and the research has come about in that time).  
                        Anyway, low levels of LCP's can affect brain development in utero as they are foundational, and if a mom becomes pregnant within two years after giving birth without bringing LCP levels back up she is twice as likely to have a child with ADHD.  (LCP deficiency is also thought to be responsible for post partum depression).  My firstborn has one type of ADHD, my second, two.  Thus far, my third baby is showing no signs, which really doesn't mean anything yet as they can manifest at any given time.

                        This is the type of knowledge I want to share with the moms in my school district, many of which are underage.

                        With your son, I don't have to tell you, that you are on a very individualized journey.  When you mentioned the melatonin  I made a mental note to check into research about children on the spectrum and divergent hormone release.  I had read this year that children with autism often exhibit, for example, formal operational thinking much earlier than their age category.  This may speak to differences in hormonal release and brain development, I honestly don't know the research on it.  This is why I love talking to parents, I learn quite a lot from their experiences.  

                        In my experience, I have noted what could almost be a kind of ODD in 8 or 9 year olds on the spectrum, as they sometimes begin quite logically arguing (like attorneys in some cases!) against rules imposed by their parents and school.  Since we were able to link these moments with other triggers (change in schedule at home, disappointment, illness) we have been treating them with breaks, deep breathing, walks, counseling, and explicitly teaching "venting", but you make me wonder about the possibility that these students may experience a kind of early adolescence.  What do you think?  

                        •  Early adolescence (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Karma for All

                          may be a good way to describe it. I never thought about it that way. I can tell you how I handle it however, and that may help with the kids you're dealing with.
                          To help him manage his ODD I give choices as much as possible. Even when he was young, it was "do you want to do this or this first?" "Do you want to drink this or this?" or "Would you please go get me the scissors?" rather than demanding it. Demanding things tended to get an automatic "no" before he even thought about what he was saying, even with something I knew he wanted. So I asked. Making it a question gave him time to think before he reacted, and gave him some control as well. Now that he's older I don't have to ask as much, he has more control over it. I still ask whenever possible, but he doesn't balk if I tell him to do something like he used to.

                          If you don't know about "heavy work" you may want to do some research on that as well. It can help calm and ground children like my son. Sometimes when he's upset he'll ask his father to go for a walk, pushing the wheelchair helps him think.

                          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                          by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 08:33:24 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Thank you, those are excellent suggestions! (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            I will check out heavy work.  

                            I have some kids that choices work with.  One of my most challenging students had a constant issue with  the weather, a tough concept for kids that are very alpha and search out the adult alpha constantly.  He was continuously set off because the morning reporter would indicate no rain, or rain, and then it would rain or not.  No explanation of science would do for him.  I was so exacerbated I wanted to ask mom and dad to simply not talk to him about the weather at all!  Then, I noticed he was purposely finding the non-arguable to argue about, like attempting to engage adults in debates as to why he was not allowed to do drugs at school, run in the hall, whistle on the bus, etc.  The less we entertained the debate and the more we treated it as a manifestation the better off we were.  It was a high interest in authority and power, far beyond that of the other kids in class.    

                    •  I agree that unschooling is not for everyone (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      yet at the same time I tend to think that there are aspects of it that can be useful to more people generally, even if they are not fully unschooling.

                      Particularly the elements of living life fully now and having the control over one's decisions that leads to the development of agency and autonomy.  I believe those elements lead to smoothing life's transitions and relationships.

                      Karma, I appreciate your sharing your experience and from all that you've written about how you apply your expertise in your work I know that your students, and school, are lucky to have you...I can feel how deeply you care about each person and what they need to succeed.

                      I have been aware of the brain research although not read it in depth (I am a licensed Marriage, Family Therapist in California, although not currently practicing and am interested in research on human behavior).  While I think it is good to know in general, I don't believe biology is destiny absolutely.  So to say:

                      As to the teenage years, neurologically speaking, from 13-mid twenties are utterly tumultuous times due to the changes and development of the pre-frontal cortex.
                      I believe they can be utterly tumultuous but that there are many other factors involved that tip the balance.  The nature vs nurture thing.  Otherwise every single teen would exhibit dramatic tumultuous behavior for 13 years and we don't see that.  And I don't think we've seen it historically.

                      From my experience (also subjective!) how we relate to our young people is just as important.  To me the research shows something that is a potential and our interactions and the environments we provide affect the outcome of that potential.  So there are people more genetically inclined for bipolar illness but whether and to what degree that expresses depends on a host of other factors.

                      Overcompensating and micromanaging may have been just as much a factor in later difficulty as brain changes. We all do the best we can, and hindsight is twenty-twenty but personally I'm inclined to look at the nature of how we were able to interact with our world...with more or less ease or with frustration, feeling supported or blocked, with confidence or insecurity, etc. than solely to the physiological.

                      Just FYI we did do a lot of testing on our son, over a period of three years, with every consultant and expert and some medication before finally deciding that the standard school setting was not conducive to his development.  My spouse, leftyparent, has chronicled that journey (and our journey as parents in general) in his blog (here's a link to a blog page that lists the links to pieces about that time in our lives Unschooling sagas).

                      Any of life's transitions bring their challenges.  Midlife crisis, empty nesting.  The brain research to me is just one piece of information among many others to help in one particular transition.  That transition is a time of moving from relative inexperience and possibly being sheltered to a larger world with greater expectations and interactions.  Which is why I think it helpful to start from birth with being able to make one's own decisions, to follow one's path, to the utmost degree one is capable at each age, and to have good communication and close relationships with people of all ages.  These things are particularly present in unschooling.

                      I am not discounting the issues with impulse control and maturity.  At the same time I think our society and systems (yes, that includes schools) work against our development so that we end up with lots of tumult and look to brain research as the cause rather than our social systems.  I prefer to emphasize the social.

                      On a related note, we really enjoyed our kids.  We were frustrated beyond belief at some of what we went through and had our challenges (during the thick of our son's testing and school issues I was going through breast cancer treatment) but we always felt thrilled to have these young people in our lives, we took the view when they were born that we wanted to have no preconceptions about who they were but be open to learning about who they were.  In the early teen years we had to figure out how to keep communication open as they turned to their peers and more privacy.  We had to learn about being authentic and respectful...I feel we learned as much sometimes from our kids as they did from us.

                      Now our son is 26 and our daughter almost 23 and we enjoy them as much as ever.  They are busy with their lives but we try to have them over for dinner and family get togethers as often as we can.  Again, this is not to say we haven't had our difficulties but it's how we approached those difficulties that I think made a difference.  And again, hindsight is everything.  If I had it to do over again there are many things I would change, which is something we've talked about with our kids too.

                      Your kids sound great, your love for them evident.  Thanks for sharing your experience.

                      •  Thank you as well for sharing what worked for (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        FloridaSNMOM, reconnected

                        you.  I guess the point I am making is that although I did not homeschool or unschool my kids, I did in some respects excuse them from things that would have made their ADHD more clear earlier on.  In some respects, if you will, I enabled them.  In some ways, I can see how improperly home schooling or unschooling could lead to this happening for others.  

                        As to using brain research as an excuse for our institutions I believe in exactly the opposite.  I think it is vitlly necessary to educate the students THEMSELVES as to what is going on in their brain so they can make the informed decisions you are speaking about.  Historically, I'd have to argue that teenagers and twenty somethings without a doubt manifest impulsive and risky decision making, which is explained by the science that tells us this is exactly how they are building their brain.  In fact, it is pretty much what they're supposed to be doing in order to form coping skills for later on in life.   With this understanding, I tried to steer my kids (successfully) away from the drugs and alcohol and toward positive risk taking.  What I did not realize was that some failure, complication,  and disappointment was necessary in preparation for the larger ones life will inevitably bring, and that these little failures are actually little lessons for kids as to how life works.  We aren't independently wealthy so the position of laundress, formerly filled by mom, has had to be taken over by themselves.  One of the hardest things for me to contemplate was that when my eldest told me he failed classes because he did not do his laundry, he really was telling me the truth.  I like when science can explain these hard-hitting questions for me.  LOL ;)  

                        While I believe and am glad that your experience is so positive, I have to tell you, there are many students who are home-schooled, or unschooled, or as we call it in my school district, long-term suspended, who are not having the same results.

                        I definitely agree that I have learned about as much from life from my kids as they have from me, and hope it never ends!  This goes for my students as well.    

                  •  Disagree all you like. (0+ / 0-)

                    Your disagreement carries all the persuasive weight of someone explaining to me that Israel's position in Palestine is justified, because Yahweh gave that land to the Israelites. It is an article of unproven faith -- and what's more, an article with which the preponderance of actual evidence (i.e., observation of how people -- including children -- behave) does not conform.

                    I would rather live in a reality where we are all happy and healthy and nobody ever hurts anybody's feelings and everybody has enough to eat and nobody ever gets cancer and children are always safe and men and women have shared biological imperatives that make life-long monogamy a joyous and satisfying experience for everybody and blah blah blah fucking blah, but humans are not super-special creatures, they're just animals, smarter than most animals but animals nonetheless, subject to all the laws of physics and chemistry and the forces of the biology that gave rise to them. They are not born wise -- and relatively few ever come very close to anything I would call wisdom (as evidenced, for example, by W's sky-high approval ratings post-911: his 7% disapproval rating represents something of an upper bound on wisdom rates in America); they are not born knowing much beyond how to suckle and how to breathe. They are driven from decision to decision as much by thoughtless urge as by conscious introspection.

                    What is especially interesting about the educational (and social) philosophy you espouse is that it more closely resembles right-wing libertarianism than anything else. After all, something the right loathes about the left is our inclination to pass laws for other people's good. Presumably, you oppose helmet laws and the health care mandate for the same philosophical reasons you oppose insisting that children refrain from certain behaviors and conform to certain expectations.

                    The smugness is exactly in the holier-than-thou, if-you-were-as-wise-and-virtuous-as-me-you-would-understand-that-children-are-all-beautiful-and-capable-and-smart-and-wise-and-thoughtful-and-you-would-be-able-to-raise-your-children-the-way-i-am-raising-mine sentiment expressed in your penultimate paragraph. Your final sentence/paragraph is as perfect an expression of this particular logical fallacy as I have ever seen expressed anywhere -- and the only other instances that equal it have been in places where the author is illustrating the fallacy.

                    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

                    by UntimelyRippd on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 10:01:35 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Ok, now you're confusing me. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      angelajean, reconnected

                      You're referring to this line:

                      But I don't believe making every choice for them is the best way to prepare them for adulthood either.
                      I don't see how that's smug at all, nor was I telling you how to raise your kids. But calling me smug and right wing sure isn't getting your argument across. To me that sentence is only logical. How do you teach a child to make smart responsible choices as adults without letting them practice that in adolescence? Isn't adolescence about gaining independence gradually so you learn how to handle it? I'm not talking about letting a 9 year old or even a 16 year old decide to use drugs or not. I'm talking about course selection, hair style, clothing (within limits, there's always 'not my daughter clothes'), leisure activities, etc.

                      My father was very authoritarian, to the point he refused to sign off on my course selection unless I took AP Trig and Pre-Calc in 11th grade. I didn't need the credits I had all my math credits at the end of 10th. And the teacher for Trig was the same one I had for Geometry, who taught from the text book, refused to answer questions if you were having a problem (he told you to read the book) and flunked you if he found out you were getting tutored. Now just for background, I also have a math disability, though I wasn't diagnosed until college.  I told my father I did not want to take Trig, especially not the advanced Trig, I may have been willing to try the slower full year course with a different teacher. He wouldn't have any of it. My average in that course was 43%. I got so frustrated with it I gave up. All my other courses were A's, even the AP courses. My senior year when my mom insisted he let me choose, I made high honors every quarter. I didn't take any math. Nor have I needed anything over Algebra in my life since. (I took college algebra with accommodations, which is where I was finally diagnosed.) If he'd let me take the slower paced Trig course with the teacher I knew would help me, I probably would have passed it, though it would have been a struggle. As an adult I chose a career where I wouldn't need advanced math because I know my limitations.

                      In what way was I helped by my father taking that choice from me in 10th grade? Who was correct? I knew before that there was something wrong with my math ability, I just didn't have a name for it. My dad refused to see it, he thought I should just "try harder" (I did a diary about Dyscalculia and my journey through math for Kosability a month or so ago). Trying harder at math has never gotten me anywhere, you can't try harder than what I was trying pre-eleventh grade.

                      Not every child is ready for the same choices at the same age. Not every child needs a light hand or a heavy hand to guide them, even among siblings. There is no right way to parent in a general sense. There is a right or wrong way for each child however. I have one child (my son) with some pretty severe disabilities, though he is high functioning and doing better than he used to. My daughter is smart, a social butterfly and a drama queen when she doesn't get what she wants. She also has reading and low vision issues. So no, I don't raise them the same. There are some things she can make choices on that her brother can't and vice versa.

                      My goal has to be doing the right thing for each child at each stage of their lives to get them ready to be independent adults (or in my son's case as independent as he possibly can be). That means letting them make choices where they are capable of it, and letting them learn about actions and consequences without micromanaging or sheltering them too much. I admit, I sheltered my son more than my daughter, but he needed that when it came to socialization. He needed added support because  that was a world he didn't understand at all. He's doing better now and I'm letting go more and more each year.

                      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                      by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 01:01:00 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  I would call this statement "adultism"... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  FloridaSNMOM, reconnected
                  Children are generally impulsive and foolish creatures, lacking knowledge, sophistication, self-awareness, self-discipline, and self-control. They have only the dimmest comprehension of physical and social reality, being highly subject to delusions induced by glamor, charisma, and their most immediate urges. There are reasons that Ayn Rand is so popular among adolescents.
                  This is the same sort of thing men used to (and some still) say about women, white people about black people, Northern Europeans about Southern Europeans, and Aristocrats about commoners, etc, etc, etc.  The privileged group dissing the out group.  

                  I suspect young people will be the world's last "them", as we transition from "us and them" thinking.

                  Cooper Zale Los Angeles

                  by leftyparent on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 03:45:32 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  I hear what you're saying but don't agree... (5+ / 0-)

          with your view of humanity...

          The simple reality is that most people are ignorant, semiliterate anti-intellectuals; and of course, by definition half of all children are of below-average intelligence.
          My view, and admittedly I tend to see the cup as half full, is that most human beings are thoughtful and caring, basically good people, but tend to be overwhelmed by the complexity of modern society, have a lot to learn and leave a lot of outmoded conventional wisdom unexamined.

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:05:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's not my view of humanity, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Karma for All

            that's my view of our society, and it is well-supported by pretty much any attempt I've ever seen to measure the American people's knowledge, literacy, and attitudes towards smart people.

            Human beings in general are neither basically good nor basically evil -- rather, their behavior is highly context-dependent. It is trivial to push their tribalist buttons and by doing so evoke behavior starkly antithetical to your optimistic portrait. That's not something that results from the complexity of modern society -- rather, it is something that is often masked by the complexity of modern society, allowing us all to pretend that we are more ethically advanced than we are. Superstition is not a modern phenomenon, it is as ancient as anything we know, and the great majority of the population are exactly as susceptible to it as any humans ever have been. The solution is not to facilitate each young person's possible stumbling-upon of insight with respect to superstition, through some creative perspective on whatever happens to capture their interest at any given moment. The solution is to show them examples, then explain to them what they just saw, and then have them go out into the world looking for examples in the mass culture, in their own subcultures, in their broader and narrower peer groups, and in themselves.

            That is what education is: the transfer of knowledge and culture, hopefully by sufficiently efficient and effective means that the knowledge and culture prove useful to the recipient. "unschooling" isn't necessarily "uneducation", but it easily can be, as it does not rely on the kind of external awareness of the structure of human knowledge, history and culture that drives both efficiency and effectiveness in the transfer.

            To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

            by UntimelyRippd on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 12:03:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm looking for common ground between us... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              but I'm still struggling to find it.

              I am curious if you think that human beings have evolved at all in the last say 5000 years of civilization.  Beyond all the continuing "us and them" thinking that I believe continues to hold back our development, do you think we have moved forward in our development?

              Cooper Zale Los Angeles

              by leftyparent on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 12:48:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  You describe education as the transfer... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FloridaSNMOM, reconnected

              of knowledge and culture.  I would say that describes what education has been, with the teacher as gatekeeper and dispenser of that cultural knowledge.  The teacher has the knowledge, gives it to the student, and the student confirms receipt by demonstrating mastery of that knowledge on tests.

              Kind of boring IMO, particularly if the focus is on simply understanding the conventional wisdom, and not focusing on moving beyond it.

              I see education moving more toward facilitating human evolution.  There can still be the knowledge transfer component, though more and more people can get that knowledge from their own investigations.  That is certainly how I have learned so much these past ten years of my continuing development.

              Cooper Zale Los Angeles

              by leftyparent on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 12:52:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Has anyone here (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          reconnected, FloridaSNMOM, angelajean

          said that everyone should homeschool? I think we all realize there are many obstacles to hsing. In the last few years, I consistently hear from parents who were hsing but now have to put their children in ps because the breadwinner lost (usually) his job and (usually) Mom has to take some low-level something while (usually) Dad job hunts. Reality prevents many people from hsing.

          And it is easier with bright children. Goodness knows we have been fortunate. It's not polite to say so, though.

          And hsing also cuts against the bullshit that parents are fed. That with just the right tweak of this, just the right dose of the right school here, with just the right activities, etc., fucking etc., Little JImmy will grow up to be a genius. And rich.

          I think more parents would hs if they could relax about trying to plan Little Jimmy's every waking moment and his entire future. And if they weren't so afraid all the time. Afraid of missing just the right thing they were supposed to do to make sure. As if. . .

      •  Most educators disgard eLearning out of hand but (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        leftyparent, angelajean

        it seems to me that it could be useful to facilitate decoupling age and level from the system.  Certainly it is not only tool but for basic concepts it could help move them to the facilitation model of teaching.  It is also how children engage the world these days.  I particularly like the video we just watched.  That style of introducing concepts which is visual but also conveys information, broken up by small testing modules to make sure students are retaining important concepts and chat to engage your teacher or other students for support in the process as you move through.  In my opinion, textbook learning is obsolete and is only beneficial to the textbook authors and textbook companies.

        •  Most educators I know are actually begging (5+ / 0-)

          districts for a technological model.

          Beyond the obvious positives for students, the possibilities for accurate assessment are limitless. The cash commitment is needed, and the textbook companies are not vested in this.

          Trust me, I do not want to grade 25 papers across 6 different topics, but I do every weekend, for hours.  I also develop SMARTboard games for the rickety one I have in my classroom for at least half of my lessons.  I do not really understand why people like Bill Gates seem to think the best application of technology in the classroom is to gather data to indict teachers and schools rather than helping us with the innovations we need.  To do the latter would necessitate a cooperative effort that included, you know, actually talking to the people trying to teach out here.  

          •  Glad to hear that. I have suggested this before (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Karma for All, angelajean, rosabw

            on DK and got my head handed to me.  As a tax payer, if educators came to me for a bond to enhance their technology, buy laptops, buy software, and wire their classrooms.  I would give them their money in a NY second.  

          •  The Truth is Spoken... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Karma for All, rosabw, Mostel26

            Educators ARE innovators. I create, I brainstorm, I adjust, I plan individually for kids, and I use technology EVERY DAY despite the fact that my room has two aging Macs and NO digital projector, which I have to borrow every time I want to use.  Every educator around me works as hard as I do, every weekend, every day, 12 to 16 hours a day.

            The problem is: Money. Money Money Money. I want my kids to do Hands-On Creative problem solving, moral dispute resolution, reading important literature with controversial and CURRENT ideas inside, but I cannot. Its about the money. Its about having 150 kids in three Literature and Writing subjects on a daily conveyor belt from hell and NO RESOURCES and NO PLANS FOR GETTING ANY RESOURCES. Its about the MONEY. We have one tech guy for 700 computers and 35 digital projectors in the building. Imagine any Corporation attempting that. Its a formula for failure. We lost him due to budget cuts a month ago. The Corporate Share of income tax in Oregon has dropped from 40% to 5% in the time since Reagan. That IS THE PROBLEM. It is not educators, and it is not schools. You cannot starve a man and then blame him for not being a "creative genius." This is the same approach used against African Americans, Native Americans and Single Women who have to make it on their own due to abuse. Blame the victim. How Convenient. How American.

            This "reform" movement is a bid to destroy the Public Schools to be replaced by the private companies who want to serve the already-college ready and leave the rest to fend for themselves. They have done it. We are on our knees, begging. Now, all that remains is to further discredit Public Educators by erecting some Model Schools and say.. SEE? You guys can't do that. We can. Game over. And the 99 percent who cannot afford a Platinum Education or have a parent who can teach at home will starve. Survival of the Fittest in the most profound misreading of a major scientific work in history. In human affairs, we forgot that cooperation, through language, math, trade, innovation and mutual support,  not competition, is our genetic ace in the hole. We are mireading Darwin and misleading ourselves about the true nature of human achievement.  

            Do NOT BLAME EDUCATORS. Do NOT assume that we are standing in the way of any reform which we KNOW is essential for democracy and a vital economy. It is the Right Wing, the No Wing Libertarians and the Sycophants of the Left Wing who have brought us to this travesty, all in the name of "Reform."

            Good luck with that "civilisation" thing which you have enjoyed and profited from so much. When these "Reformers" win, its back to the Middle Ages, and you can re-enact swordplay to your heart's content.  On the other hand, you can join in with rational educators like myself and fix the problem rationally, with logic, evidence and cooperation. As always, life is about the success of choices you make.

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

            by OregonOak on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:56:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Preach it Oregon! nt (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              OregonOak, rosabw, Mostel26
              •  I am JUST getting started... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Karma for All, rosabw, Mostel26

                they made the mistake of creating a faux Fox News crisis here in our District, and then having Summer Break.

                In between Farming and Farm Building repairs, I will be causing the Powerful some Powerful discontent.

                Thank you Karma. I value your support a great deal.

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

                by OregonOak on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 11:27:43 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Agreed about "reform" movement... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              The original state-run mandatory universal public schools came out of a "reform" movement.  But even more than that, from my reading of history, it was business "reforms" in the early 20th century that created the very factory-like model that most public schools follow today...

              Cooper Zale Los Angeles

              by leftyparent on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 12:01:54 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  "Efficiency" Reforms.. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Karma for All, rosabw

                The "time on task"  business movement in the Pre-Nazi Business world of the 1920's and 1930's was all about maximizing the movements of labor, down to the half-second. The "mechinization" of EVERYTHING was the result, from food, to war, to business, to agriculture, to education.

                American free public education was started by reformers in the 1840's who were feminists and anti-slavery advocates, and as such, had NOTHING to do with the mechanization of education. That was a much later "improvement" of the same people who liked eugenics, top-down control, and maximizing profits by stealing from labor.

                So when we talk about education, we must realize that it has mirrored exactly the social, political and economic decisions of the country, just as it does today. The results are here for everyone to see. We have been "standardizing" and "efficientizing" education since the 1920's, despite the obvious fact that human beings are not machines, they are growing, living organisms.

                Just as in agriculture and now, warmaking, the powers that be are reconsidering the "efficiency" of the "machine."

                Unless you view human beings as part of the living world, no system works. When we start using Forest Management and Sustainable Farming as our models for growing Human Beings, we will have succeeded in at LEAST asking the right questions about the topic. For the moment, we have the complete wrong metaphor, and as such, we do not even know the questions, let alone the answers.

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

                by OregonOak on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 12:35:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Agree that the 1840 reformers were not about... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  FloridaSNMOM, reconnected

                  creating an education system based on the business model.  But from what I've read, they were about creating an education system on the state control model developed previously by the Prussians for their far less democratic state.  Horace Mann believed the model could be adapted to work building the more democratic American state.

                  That said, the public school system was still about top-down control by the state of teachers and students through a standardized curriculum and educational process.  When Mann and other reformers conceived that tool, they saw it being wielded by an intellectual Protestant elite to protect the Protestant religious values they held dear and they felt were a crucial underpinning of America, up to then and going forward.  

                  One of their main concerns was the burgeoning Catholic (and to a lesser extent Jewish) immigrants coming to the U.S., and the foreign values they were bringing with them.  If immigrants' kids were forced to go to public schools and be instructed in Protestant values, then the immigrants could be "melted" into the prevailing American values, championed by that intellectual elite.


                  Cooper Zale Los Angeles

                  by leftyparent on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 01:05:27 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  There were a great variety of reasons for (0+ / 0-)

                  supporting public education, starting with the Scottish Presbyterian idea that the public had a moral obligation to make sure that every Scottish child could read the Bible. That resulted in the Scottish enlightenment, which turned out more doctors, engineers, and so on than all the rest of the British Empire combined. It is even the reason for Scotty on Star Trek.

                  It is a shame that we cannot read several versions of the Bible in schools (at least Jewish, Catholic, King James, and modern Protestant), alongside the Buddhist Sutras, the Qur'an, the Hindu Upanishads, Laozi, Confucius, some of the Norse sagas, and the Mayan Popul Vuh. Oh, yeah, even the Book of Mormon and a taste of Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures.

                  Then, of course, there was the Prussian Imperial factory automation system, John Dewey's notion of educating citizens, the Montessori system, and many others. One of mine is ending poverty through One Laptop Per Child.

                  Busting the Dog Whistle code.

                  by Mokurai on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 04:01:22 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  That's the first thing (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FloridaSNMOM, Karma for All

              that was done around here when times were good -- property taxes were cut.

              It's no way to expect to fund a decent society, let alone an innovative and evolving school system.

              •  It's one of the ways you can tell that (0+ / 0-)

                Fundamentalists don't believe anything in the Bible except the few bits about the Fall and Baptism and the Resurrection cherry-picked to support their dogma. Otherwise, they would all be demanding that we behave like Joseph and Pharaoh when confronted by the seven good years and the succeeding seven years of famine. Talk about raising taxes!

                Mormons, too. They are required to keep a year's worth of food on hand (originally in case of drought in the desert), but not to apply that thought to anything else in the world.

                Busting the Dog Whistle code.

                by Mokurai on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 04:05:31 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Please tell us (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            you mean something better than the standardized test dreck we have now when you wish for technology for limitless assessments.

            •  I mean the exact opposite. There is absolutely (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              no reason in this day and age that technology does not exist to provide automaticity between assessments (and assessments include daily grading, btw) and individualized learning.  Education is the last to automate its system, but now we're too busy moving in completely the wrong direction.  

              I've actually been trying to decide between a PhD or returning to school for software development, a field I know nothing about, but it's getting to "if you can't get it done, do it yourself."  

              But I'm putting all of that off until I get my kids through the next few years and to advocate for better brain education for the students themselves in the classroom.  Ultimately, the greatest challenge in education, as I see it, is a kind of magical thinking about our bodies and minds that pervades amongst parents and children, and I see that as the most dangerous challenge.

            •  And P.S. the standardized tests we are using (0+ / 0-)

              are pretty low-tech.  I do not understand what constitutes the millions we are spending.  I mean, beyond the deals cut with Pearson et. al.

        •  Agreed... its a remenant of an age when teachers.. (3+ / 0-)

          were the main gateway to knowledge.  The Internet has changed that to a large degree, and IMO will be as transformational to human society as the printing press was in the 1500s.

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:08:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, the internet has its limits too. A teacher (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dretutz, rosabw

            and I were laughing, for example, at the internet directions and kits purchased by some of our other colleagues, replete with video for tie-dying this week.  Back in the day, it was accomplished with a couple of bottles of RIT, some water, and some rubber bands.   Educated people, informed by the internet, paid close to $100 for the kits for their three classrooms.  :)

            •  *LOL* Marketing & consumeris certainly continues.. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Karma for All

              in the Internet age!

              Cooper Zale Los Angeles

              by leftyparent on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 12:03:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  But the Internet has opened up direct access... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FloridaSNMOM, reconnected

              to so many areas and sharing of knowledge never possible before.  I would not be an essayist today on the subject of education without all the things I've learned and people I've connected with (including an audience for my writing) without the Internet.  I really wonder what I would be doing with my life without it... it has allowed me to transform myself.

              Cooper Zale Los Angeles

              by leftyparent on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 01:09:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Untrue. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Karma for All, rosabw, Mostel26

          Educators are not against elearning.

          We are stuck up against a public politics which on the Right Wing says.. if a student in your class looks at a naughty picture, or reports on a controversial topic in class, or views an R rated movie or book which contraverts any principle of any religion or creed,  you will be fired at best, and at worst, serve time in the Penitentiary.

          On the Left Wing, we are accused of being stodgy, irrelevant and "not with it" because we refuse to take the personal risk associated with the Right Wing's constant threats against our jobs and persons, especially if you happen to be a minority.

          In other words, there MUST BE A PUBLIC AGREEMENT from the PUBLIC.. the Complainers.. from Right and Left about the uses and tolerances given to innovative educators in eLearning. You MUST roll up your sleeves and help us out by engaging them, persuading them, meeting with them, explaining the problem, and ultimately hammering out a National Agreement about what content is to be taught. This is not about some "Process" It is about the CONTENT of education. That discussion is avoided like a plague at our school, and we constantly discuss HOW things should get taught, but never WHAT should be taught.

          Get off your butt and help us out. Stop complaining and ACT.

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

          by OregonOak on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 11:03:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  IMO the problem is with the school goveranace... (3+ / 0-)

            model.  Schools are controlled from way up the food chain in the state capitols rather than by real decisions from real decision-makers (teachers and students) in the trenches and parents close by.

            Cooper Zale Los Angeles

            by leftyparent on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 12:05:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  This turns out not to be the case (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Conservatives Use Creationist Playbook to Attack Climate Change Education in Schools

              A few years ago, Cheryl Manning assigned a research project on climate change to her high school environmental science class in Evergreen, Colo. She presented the basic facts and data from peer-reviewed studies, then asked the students to look into the issue themselves and report back on what they learned.

              Halfway through the unit, three students came to class up in arms. They questioned whether the data was made up and if government scientists were part of a plot — “like conspiracy theorists that say we never went to the moon,” Manning said. At a PTA meeting the students’ parents accused her of trying to undermine their children’s religious belief system.

              “Peer-reviewed science is the Kool-Aid of the left-wing liberal conspiracy,” they said, adding a warning: “Be on your guard.”

              Busting the Dog Whistle code.

              by Mokurai on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 04:13:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  No such thing, the public just can't agree. It is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            not in the cards in the near future, we are a 50/50 country.  Fact of life and it won't change until we get religion(Everybody's religion) out of our national conversation.  I am a person of faith but I don't want religion anywhere near the public schools, if you feel strongly about religious dogma then private school is for your child.  I would like schools to teach ethics, respect, tolerance(absolutely no bullying) and acting with integrity in all things.

            •  Then Democracy Fails. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Karma for All, rosabw

              You cannot seriously be throwing up your hands and admitting that the Democratic Experiment is over? Can you?

              Your "easy out" is the anathema to those of us working to restore democracy in this country. No better project than to get people to start talking and seeing what can be agreed to in the educational formats we can draw from.  It is hard. It is frustrating. It is never-ending. It is democracy.

              It is NOT convenient. Convenience is not a right. What IS our right and our duty is to formulate some form of democracy where people who do not agree can agree at least on a path forward.

              I throw down the gauntlet.

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

              by OregonOak on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 01:05:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Where have you been, we can't even get people (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                to agree on the shape of the table.  It has gotten too emotional and too personal.  I have been with friends I have known since college(a long time) and we cannot discuss politics because at least one of us is a republican(one of the good ones) and he cannot express his point of view without feelings being hurt.    It is not that democracy is broken, it is that our institutions are broken, our press, our congress, our churches, our schools, our courts and people are just angry about it.  It is not the good kind of anger(one that motivates), it is the bad kind which separates and makes people withdraw.  You cannot engage people that have withdrawn from the process.  My opinion, we make voting mandatory, the way they have in Australia, you want democracy, that's democracy.  You have to show up no matter what.  You want to empower people, no more cajoling and begging.  It's a democracy, as a citizen you have obligations and just like paying taxes on April 15th, you must engage with your voice.  If not, we fine you.

                •  I'm still out on mandatory voting (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  but I see the draw. I just lived in Argentina, where they have mandatory voting and they complain about it as well. Many get upset that too many vote without understanding the issues. They just vote for the party they have always voted for without listening to the debates, or for their favorite advertising, etc. Granted, they umpteen parties to chose from and we only have two. But people forced to vote without educating themselves about the issues might actually be a worse proposition.

                  •  Don't think so. If people can disengage, they (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    WILL never see the benefit of educating themselves.  They can just opt out which is what so many people have done.  People have to pay taxes so they educate themselves or they seek professional advice on the matter.  It matters to them so they spend the time.  The only way we can defend against massive amounts of money is massive engagement.  If we get that level of engagement, Democrats win.

                    •  but being forced to do something doesn't mean (0+ / 0-)

                      it will be done well. And I want voting done well. Maybe mandatory voting is the way to get there. It certainly would make it a more teachable topic in school, "You have to vote so we might as well teach you the responsible way to come to your decisions." Like I said, I'm ambivalent. I wonder, have you talked to any Australians about how they like their system?

                      One other point about Argentina I forgot to mention - one of the choices on the ballot is No Vote. They just have to show up and fill out the ballot.

            •  I think we're a 25/25 country with 50 percent (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rosabw, Nance

              not paying much attention and just going with the flow.

              •  Victims of Affluence... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lakehillsliberal, Karma for All

                Steinbeck points out in "The Grapes of Wrath" that the children of affluence never have as much drive, energy or committment to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as those who know firsthand what it is to be truly poor and oppressed by a minority of wealthy oligarchs.

                 When the parents of these affluent children try to motivate their children, the children simply cannot believe that things were really any different from their easy comfy lives, and they become people who expect their comforts to come easily and cheaply. They often do worse than their parents, or resort to scams, credit debt and interpersonal strife to maintain their lifestyles, and worse than any immigrant or conquering population driven by intense and very real hunger. See: Mexican Immigrants, both legal and illegal.

                That may be the ultimate cause of the passivity and ignorance of America. We are victims of our own three generations of economic success, and until the threat of real pain and poverty hits the entitled middle 50 percent, we will continue to blame, thrash about, look for scapegoats, and fall apart into radical fantasies about the true nature of our problems. See: The Tea Party.

                Literature, if read closely and clearly, explains most everything.

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

                by OregonOak on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 02:52:24 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Love the Grapes of Wrath reference. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:


                  When the parents of these affluent children try to motivate their children, the children simply cannot believe that things were really any different from their easy comfy lives, and they become people who expect their comforts to come easily and cheaply. They often do worse than their parents, or resort to scams, credit debt and interpersonal strife to maintain their lifestyles
                  describes perfectly the nepotistic, corrupt group that is presently running my school district.

                  And, if I'm honest, beyond the issues my kids have with ADHD, it describes the kind of children I almost sent out into the world as a child from a lower middle class blue collar family who thought to parent the way the rich did.  

                  This is a pervasive problem, if we're honest.

                •  Economic privilege tends to protect itself... (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  FloridaSNMOM, OregonOak

                  by promoting a conventional wisdom that economically privileged people are smarter, more thoughtful and even more moral.  I'm afraid that our education system helps promote that conventional belief by being set up in such a way that most of the economically advantaged succeed and the less so mostly fail.

                  In letting my own kids leave school as young teens, I hoped that they could get out of that overarching world view, and move forward with their lives outside the structures of privilege and meritocracy that it promotes.

                  Cooper Zale Los Angeles

                  by leftyparent on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 01:18:00 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  I will have a great deal to say about eLearning (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM, reconnected

          For example, computers now cost much less than printed textbooks. What happens if we replace proprietary printed textbooks with Open Educational Resources under Creative Commons licenses, allowing them to be translated, adapted, remixed, and so on? Several countries are doing so, with Bangladesh in the lead. Several US states are in various stages of such projects, with California in the lead and New York trying to get ahead of them.

          At the same time, One Laptop Per Child and a group of education researchers have developed software for an educational experiment using computers in remote villages in developing countries that have no school, no teacher, not a single literate adult. The initial suite of software for the children is designed with no text in the UI. There is also monitoring software that records data on the use of the computer and software, such as which activities the children engage in, when, and how long.

          The experiment is in a fairly early stage. Children are using dozens of activities. They have so far learned the alphabet but not reading. We shall see.

          The original research on computers for teaching literacy was called the Edison Talking Typewriter. Two-year-old children were sat at IBM Selectric terminals with color-coded keys and color-coded fingernails, and given voice feedback on exercises that began with pushing a key with a finger of the same color, and ending with full literacy, reading and typing. (They were much too young for handwriting, of course.)

          Please, nobody tell me that it can't work. You don't know any such thing. Please, don't leap on this as though it were the answer to all educational problems. You don't know any such thing. Let us wait for evidence, and then let us use that evidence to guide the next round of questions, and so on.

          There is a great deal of evidence on what works in education and what does not. It is only of use if you are willing to let the data guide your thinking and your questioning, and insist that others present evidence for any claims they make.

          Most eLearning materials are in static PDF, HTML, or video form. The next generation will be in interactive HTML5 and EPUB3, which I will have much more to say about.

          Busting the Dog Whistle code.

          by Mokurai on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 03:49:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  We're soliciting your ideas and your opinions. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Karma for All, reconnected

        Do you want to write for Education Alternatives?

        I remember very well being in tract classes in elementary school - 6th grade, specifically. Our English class was actually the high acheivers and the teacher decided not to teach us English. We spent an entire year on puppetry - all aspects from design and creation of the puppets to writing and presentation of the skits and on to production. It was one of my favorite classes of all my 12 years of school as a kid. To this day, I still think enrichment teaches more than standardized curriculum.

    •  rec'd for awareness of montessori nt (0+ / 0-)
    •  ratios ratios ratios (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      How many times does this have to be reinvented. Kids who were educated used to be educated that way exclusively, though most kids were not educated back then. Only the wealthy were able to afford a tutor to teach their children.
      You hit the nail on the head. In order to teach in this way, all of us who are teaching would need a significant reduction in our total number of students and the percentage of time planning would need to increase vs. our time assigned to students.
  •  Enlightenment & factory model... (13+ / 0-)

    From the studying I have been doing of U.S. education history, the elightenment/classics paradigm came with the beginning of mandatory universal public school in the early 19th century championed by Horace Mann and the New England Protestant intellectual elite that he represented.  See my piece about this...

    Then the factory/business paradigm came with the business takeover of public education in the early 20th century championed like famous educational administrators like Elwood Cubberley, who said...

    Our schools are, in a sense, factories in which the raw products (children) are to be shaped and fashioned into products to meet the various demands of life. The specification for manufacturing come from the demands of the twentieth-century civilization, and it is the business of the school to build its pupils to the specification laid down. This demands good tools, specialized machinery, continuous measurement of production to see if it is according to specifications, the elimination of waste in manufacture, and a large variety in the output.

    See my piece about that business takeover...

    Cooper Zale Los Angeles

    by leftyparent on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 06:57:04 AM PDT

    •  the elimination of waste in manufacture, (8+ / 0-)

      WTH is that supposed to mean in application to children?

      I guess that's the 25% who drop out because they don't fit?

      If you starve the middle class, whose gonna pay for your crap?

      by rosabw on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 07:20:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You hit the nail on the head! (9+ / 0-)

        We don't even bother to recycle the 'waste' either.

        Just read that kids without a diploma or GED won't be able to get certain types of financial aid in college (homeschool families are not to worry as the law is written to exclude us). It means that lots of kids who didn't find a high school a good fit and dropped out but can get accepted to college based on the accuplacer, won't quality for aid. There is something wrong with this picture. (hat tip to Zoltan for the link)

        •  I came across a way for my son to fit (3+ / 0-)

          without going through hoops by accident.  It was a singular line in the admissions to the Tech School he is attending.  You can bet your butt the GED office tried to limit his access to a further education.  Maybe it was just the office I attended.  A real rip guided it.  The GED office at my son's school now couldn't be more helpful.

          Some really awful people think it is their job to exclude people.  Some really persevering parents find a way around.  I could have easily given up if it hadn't been for facing his disappointment in not being able to attend Tech.

          For anyone who may be reading, there are a limited number of areas you can take classes in if you are 16, and having quit school being the only requirement.

          From was cosmetology, electrical, auto-mechanics, welding, cooking, things on that order.  They don't seem "intellectual", but my God, you should see his books, and their complexity.  ALL Greek to me.  He's taking Industrial electronics for now... can't begin to help him with his homework, but he got a B last semester.  In Georgia, the HOPE scholarship pays about half the cost of classes as long as he gets a B or above.

          If you starve the middle class, whose gonna pay for your crap?

          by rosabw on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:35:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  25% drop out and the others that have to be (7+ / 0-)

        medicated to make it through.  I have a friend whose son just not fit the standard program and they have tried everything, at 14 he has decided he is NOT going to school anymore and his mother cannot home school him.  There isn't a way anyone(including the courts) can force a child to attend school if he refuses.  He knows his rights(the court appointed an attorney) so he just refuses and he knows they cannot touch him.  It is getting ugly out there.

        •  This concerns me... (4+ / 0-)

          He very likely could be my son.  Tell her there are ways to get him into Tech, if that is acceptable to him.  You have to read between the lines that would like to keep him in his place.

          My son was medicated, and placed in a "behaviorally disordered" classroom.  We homeschooled a while.  Then we started taking tech classes, that were what he was interested in anyhow.

          Guess what?   No ritalin, no IEP, no "behavior disordered" classroom...All A's and B's and he looks forward to school for the first time in his life.

          I think you have to be 16, though.  Perhaps give him a year or two off where he chooses his own education.  Might surprise you.

          No kid would be battling that hard unless school was an absolute nightmare for him.  It's getting worse for boys these days, in my estimation.  Having schools the size of miniature cities doesn't help, either.

          If you starve the middle class, whose gonna pay for your crap?

          by rosabw on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:21:55 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  She is trying everything she knows to fix it. He (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            angelajean, Karma for All, rosabw

            was diagnosed ODD as well as ADHD but the medication did not help him much.  It would make him quiet but did not help him in learning the material(he is 5 years behind his peers).    I think he has been misdiagnosed.  He is adopted and his biological mother has schizophrenia and also drug issues.  His learning problems are so severe even private tutoring(in school and out) has not really helped.   He is in one of the best school districts in his state but even they just are not equipped to handle children that do not respond to medication and will not settle down to the program.  

            •  Has he tried bio or neuro feedback? Has (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              he had the specific type of ADHD diagnosed?  Best of luck.  

            •  My son was also adopted. (0+ / 0-)

              I've chosen not to go the psychologist route. I mean, if he asked for one, I'd be on it in five minutes.  It would have to be his choice though.

              School must feel like a prison of failure to him.  

              If you starve the middle class, whose gonna pay for your crap?

              by rosabw on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 01:56:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  There is no shame in not fitting the mold. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Karma for All

                I have always loved my teachers and my son's teachers.  But about 8th or 9th grade, or earlier for some kids...they fail the system no matter how hard they try. It's really hard to explain in a way that teachers can understand.  Sometimes it's dyslexia, and they think the kids aren't trying.  

                Bless his heart...and her heart for trying.  We all do the best we can.

                If you starve the middle class, whose gonna pay for your crap?

                by rosabw on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 03:01:36 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not all of us. I actually find myself trying (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  FloridaSNMOM, reconnected, rosabw

                  to get parents to diagnose for dyslexia, ADHD, etc. without saying so outright (forbidden) so that I can get the extra time and smaller group setting I need to educate children like these.

                  All of these discussions affirm the following for me:

                  1.  Teachers and parents need to ignore all attempts to split them apart and work with one another.

                  2.  Teachers need to be somehow linked with the medical/neurological community to better understand the students they are educating.

                  I cannot tell you how much I have learned this year, for example, about visual therapy because a mom brought reports from her doctor in.  Contrary to whomever is doing conventional wisdom these days, teachers are not versed in every research study available, neither are specialists on the district payroll.  Parents have a very important role to play in developing plans for their students, and we all ignore that role to our detriment.  It is a key factor in moving forward.  

                  It takes utter honesty, and a humble approach from all sides though, and that is a very hard thing to have when $$$ is the name of the game.  

                  Still, we're out here parents.

        •  Agreed, 13 years ago we medicated our son... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          angelajean, rosabw

          to try and help him get thru middle school, then finally pulled him out...

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:14:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Introduce him to the Teenage Liberation Handbook (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and hopefully he will find a path for himself. A lot of young teens actually thrive when they realize that the real person in control is the teen him/herself.

  •  I love these series of videos (8+ / 0-)

    Iwatched to the end. He may be wrong about one thing--the need for collaborative learning. I mean, yes, we need collaboration and cooperation with learners and some of us (me, I think) work better that way. I'm inspired by others for divergent thoughts.

    But many people, introverts (perhaps a majority of people) work well alone. Contemplative work is not done iwth distractions. Einstein didn't work in a collaborative environment when he derived the Theory of Relativity, for example.

    It's neat to think of trying to address these issues in education, though, and I love the video.

  •  And they're about to make it worse in the UK... (7+ / 0-)

    Trainee teachers to be given new personality tests to weed out applicants "unsuite to working in the classroom"

    I wonder how many divergent thinkers are going to be screened out by these tests? Because if nothing else, the people who are deemed "possessed of the organisational skills to plan lessons properly" and “emotionally resilient enough to cope with pressure and badly-behaved children"... well, they sure do seem to resemble those who happily conform with a factory widget model.

    It's a scarlet letter on a prospective teacher every bit as much as a label of ADHD is on a child.

    And worst of all, stuff like this is always done with smiles on faces, with intentions and an attitude of concern for our welfare, of compassion even. But funny how whenever money needs to be saved, we get ever more creative in ways to winnow people out...

    This is one effect of decreasing unionization: YOU are more winnowable, as a worker. YOU are more expendable. And your employer and community are prepared to brand you for life as unsuitable to work in your chosen profession, to make sure you stay out of the game.

    It's a visceral, everyday understanding of what it means to live under right-to-work; and I think it's time more unions forcefully made that case to Walker-voting union members et al.

    Real Democrats don't abandon the middle class. --John Kerry

    by Lucy Montrose on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 07:10:52 AM PDT

  •  The challenge is to dismantle... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    what radical educator John Taylor Gatto Calls the "weapon of mass instruction", which is a huge top-down system of educational governance and control created by Horace Mann and others in the 1830s and nine generations later still intact and even growing in power and being wielded by the elite du jour.  Then education can return to a human level, based on humanistic principles.

    Cooper Zale Los Angeles

    by leftyparent on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 07:12:08 AM PDT

  •  The sad thing is... (4+ / 0-)

    we are running our boys into the ground with the present system.  Maybe I see it that way because my son didn't fit the system...being a non- academic with higher scores in history and science than most academics. (98th percentile, 86th in Math Concepts, although he counts with his fingers...)

    It used to be that 90% of college graduates were men.  Now, it's 40%.  Women have picked up, and that's good, but they are far over-represented in comparison to their numbers.  

    What are we doing to our boys, besides drugging at least 15% of them into compliance?  How did teachers teach without drugs before?  

    Things have to change or we will be referring historically to this as the "lost generation" of boys.  

    I'm thinking maybe it's time we ought to wake up.  Maybe your kids did fine...but the way things are moving, they'll be after your grandsons.  

    If you starve the middle class, whose gonna pay for your crap?

    by rosabw on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 07:17:16 AM PDT

    •  Drugs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      freelunch, mmacdDE

      Education is a community and societal system.  As part of that system, as a teacher, I personally call upon the medical community to take responsibility for keeping up to date with studies that indicate much of ADHD can and should be treated preventively, and without medication.  Treating ADHD with stimulants not only does not work in many cases, but for one type of ADHD, it actually exacerbates the problem.  I also call upon parents to develop an understanding of ADHD and demand better answers from their MD's.  In the first place, why are parents stopping at their pediatrician and psychiatrist if they are unhappy with being given prescriptions?  Does that make sense?  Why in the world would parents not take your child to a neurologist, a behavioral psychologist, a nutiritionist, a visual therapist, any number of specialists you should advocate for to help your child, etc.

      This is what I am allowed to do as a teacher.  I am allowed to point out that a student is having issues with focus in class.  I am allowed to make recommendations to parents about some lifestyle changes (parents sometimes like this, and others do not), I am allowed to suggest that you talk about what is happening in the classroom with your doctor, and I am allowed to recommend educational testing for limited services that do not have the reach necessary to help any child with ADHD.  In my classroom, through my own money and time, I have developed my own program to tailor to the needs of these students, but this is not a priority for my district or my school.  In fact, I am told straight out I cannot recommend any kind of doctor or medical inquiry, much less a presription drug remedy.  The idea that teachers prefer or promote the drugging of children is a fallacy.  Our hands are tied legally from doing so.  I do have several students who were prescribed medications, and I can tell you that they have some positive results but for the most part I find parents do not administer them consistently and this is even more dangerous than no drugs at all.  I would rather have an informed medical community who see it as their mission to accurately diagnose and inform parents, and parents who understand that ADHD is not a classroom-managed affliction but a round the clock management illness, than a drugged child any day of the week.  For starters, parents, if you don't know what kind of ADHD your child has, you have not gone far enough.  

      •  The expense is prohibitive... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZenTrainer, Karma for All

        If you starve the middle class, whose gonna pay for your crap?

        by rosabw on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:25:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I know. This is what I mean by it is a (0+ / 0-)

          societal solution that is needed.  Proper healthcare would include the ability to diagnose properly, and a medical community with a preventative bend.  The expense for not going through the motions can be worse though, especially (trust me on this one) in the way of wasted money at the college level for parents, or for having to support an adult child financially is higher.  The continued collective expense of misunderstood and undiagnosed or unproperly diagnosed ADHD, LD's, etc. is of course not quantifiable, but I imagine very great.

  •  Plague of ADHD (13+ / 0-)

    As a Special Educator, and a parent of two kids and one husband with ADHD I have made a study of this phenomenon and agree that it is without a doubt one of the most contributing factors to our decline in education.  It also could inform so much educational reform.  That would require us to move away from some of the standardized testing that is driving curriculum and to begin to educate students about their own brains and bodies beginning at a young age.  It would require us to understand that all children need to be explicitly taught a simple, progressive curriculum of time and organizational (study) skills both at home and in the classroom because our society has become a 24 hour distraction from thinking.   It would require parents to also become educated in the same manner, and communities that did more than give lip service to the idea of a better future generation.  As it stands now, this generation of children is in jeopardy of being the first to not outlive their parents
    The obesity rate and the ADHD plague are both symptoms of lifestyles that are not healthy for humans in mind and body.  It makes perfect sense to me that there is a correlation between obesity and ADHD rates on that map.  We, as Americans, have no idea of the way our diets are poisoning the brains of our kids.  Here is one recent study that would explain why the states with high Coca-Cola (sucrose) loyalty register higher on the ADHD map.

    Some educational reforms that would be quite simple would include changing school lunches to reflect what we know about neuroscience and nutrition.  Brains function optimally on diets that include DHA's and Omega 3's, ADHD students,  and all students, really, should learn at a very young age what they need to feed themselves at what time of day to aid their ability to learn.  High carbohydrate breakfasts have been proven to impact the ability to learn negatively.

    Another "reform" that is needed is education for parents and students on the importance of sleep.  We are allowing our children to go to sleep in front of television sets, and at varying hours.  Sleep disruption is a major issue for children now.  I had a parent last week tell me, "Well, we turn the video games off before he goes to bed, but sometimes he gets up in the night and plays."  This was in response to phone calls we made to several parents whose children are coming to school in the morning having played minecraft and other video games prior to entering the classroom.  Parents behave as if it beyond their control to stop the video games, turn off the TV's, and encourage conversation, reading, physical exercise, and even sleep.  

    Truly reforming education means that as a society we would have to make it a priority to majorly shift our lifestyles.  It would take employers who are interested in supporting human beings with work requirements that make adults accessible to children.  It would take marketing agencies who are on the side of a healthy populace.  It would take a real set of societal ethics for the benefit of what society in America was supposed to be about in the first place, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness vs. the self-righteous, segmented judgment that passes for societal ethics today.  When we talk about educational reform we should all understand that what we are talking about is societal reform as well.  For as long as the American life is about material success instead of human well being we will continue to decline, and continue to implode, as we are on our own children.  I know this sounds dramatic, but I live this every day.  We are ignoring all evidence of destroying the very minds of our children.  Instead of reading studies and researching to solve problems we are listening to people who have no knowledge whatsoever about the human brain, nutrition, developmental psychology, or education.  We are playing a blame game that says teachers, like me, are at the root of our kids' inability to learn when in fact I spend the good part of every day trying to work around the deficits my students are walking through the classroom door with.  It is maddening, and sickening and I find myself in more despair at the end of every school year.

    •  This could become a diary in it's own right? (5+ / 0-)

      Would you be interested in publishing with Education Alternatives? The discussion on ADHD and obesity rates and diabetes would be a great place to start the next discussion!

    •  Wow... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      freelunch, Karma for All, mamamedusa

      If people like you give up, the next generation is screwed...

      My husband taught for 10 years, I did for 5.  But our son's needs were more than the system could give in to.  He said he felt "bullied by the curriculum."  I have no doubt he will be a successful college graduate, or businessman, or whatever it is he must be.  He had most of the educational/behavioral labels that kids get these days, along with the ritalin.  I know he would have been part of the 25% who failed to graduate had we not found a more suitable way for him to learn --Tech don't need a GED or diploma.  We found a way to play the game for love of him.  Karma, I worry for the kids who don't have educators for parents who can figure out a way for their kids to keep on being educated.  My son is so bright, he's just "different", and drug free for the past 4 years.  He would have graduated HS, but instead finished his first year of Tech his senior year, this year.  I worry for the kids whose parents can't find a way and allow their kids to quit.  Do you know prisons in some states are built based on 3-4th grade reading scores? Planning ahead...

      I spend the good part of every day trying to work around the deficits my students are walking through the classroom door with.
      If the curriculum fit the student better, I think that is all Ken Robinson is many kids are "non-academic".  They just don't have the wiring. We have to offer them something else.  It's not the teachers fault.  They are doing the best they can, with what they have to do.  No wonder you are wearing out.

      If you starve the middle class, whose gonna pay for your crap?

      by rosabw on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 07:43:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  To clarify deficits, I am talking about (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rosabw, mamamedusa, OregonOak

        *sleep deprivation
        *ignorance of nutritional requirements in families
        *lack of structure, predominantly, an understanding
          of time and how it works, on the homefront
        *lack of understanding of brain development in both
          the homefront and to inform educational reforms

        I see much of this as far beyond the control of a classroom teacher, but there are ways that we can and should be changing the curriculum to allow our next generation to understand the basic needs of their minds and bodies.  Do you know, for example, that we no longer require health education as part of our primary curriculum in science?  Why would it be this way given the challenges we face, like obesity, which threatens to lower the life expectancy for these children.

        I completely support the idea of other changes in the curriculum that would support multiple intelligences and more diversity in career tracts at the high school level.  I also believe that our society's new emperor with no clothes is our collective inability to pass on to our children some pretty common-sense care of our own bodies, brains, and time management/organization skills.  For most of my parenting of my now college-aged children, I followed and embraced their creative whims which I do not regret, they are brilliant.  I was able to fill in their organization and time management deficits for them with far too much micromanagement, and due to my own ignorance (even as a highly educated special educator) I allowed the development of nutrition and sleep habits that ravaged their minds and bodies.   This did not and does not transfer into the real world.  After many issues with the rigors and responsibilities of college, my kids are now finally properly diagnosed (one with one kind of ADHD, the other with two).  The cause is unknown, but has been linked to genetic neurological predispositions, pre-natal and early childhood nutrition, and environmental fostering, all of which require awareness by parents.  Once I began exercises in time and money management, small ones, family meetings, and they began behavioral psychology sessions in both bio and neurofeedback to retrain impulse tracts and anxiety reactions that were mal developed throughout their childhood and adolescence, we saw real results.

        My job as an educator can only go so far in spreading this knowledge to parents.  As I read more and more about these issues (along with my husband, who is from the South and part of a swath of that map as an adult with ADHD), I became more and more aware of how ignorant our entire society is to the ways we are fostering and literally creating this epidemic in children.  There is a reason our children don't have the wiring, and that reason is that the wiring is happening before our eyes, by our lifestyles, and yes, by our educational system.  It is going to take a lot more than changing curriculum, it means changing much of our understanding of the human brain.  We must adapt curriculum at younger levels to ensure children get a good start, and we must understand the pre-frontal cortex development that takes place throughout adolescence and our 20's to really get to the root of it.  All of the curriculum changing in the world will not change the fact that students who enter college will have to be able to understand time, organize themselves, and focus on their studies.  Higher education has been pushing down for years, I doubt that universities will be accommodating multiple intelligence learning without much prompting either.  There has to be a meeting and understanding on all sides, bring the knowledge to the students to help them understand themselves seems to me the best change we could make in curriculum.  

        As you say, I am an educator and was able, thankfully, to have the financial means for the brain mapping and diagnoses necessary to help my children.  My frustration is in how to spread this knowledge further.  We cannot change the curriculum alone, this will not result in the necessary changes to our lifestyles to eradicate through understanding, we have to commit as a society.  I hope such a thing is actually possible anymore.

        •  NICE COMMENT! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Karma for All, Mostel26

          Well said, and perfectly to the point. Its not TEACHERS who need to change, its STUDENTS AND PARENTS AND CORPORATE ADVERTISING which needs to change.

          My students are Faux TICKED OFF every day when I go around the room telling them how many ate breakfast, what they ate and how many hours of sleep they had. I have learned to do very well at this game; I can tell who had an BullBile Energy Drink, who had a SugaryFooFoo StarClucksCoffeeish drink, who stayed up until 2 am on TeenBookMatch ogling private parts of friends and unknown others, who smoked pot from the underground brand Mazatlan ThunderFock three days ago, and in general conducing their lives as if they have no future other than self pleasure and mindless entertainment.  

          By the end of the year, they are laughing, and some have actually changed into students or even.. horrors.. scholars. Enough to keep the fun in the game for all concerned. What I do is probably in some states illegal, but my students WANT TO BE CALLED OUT on stupid teen behavior, because God knows, aint nobody else doin it! I fully expect to be the next in the lineup of "NonTraditional Teachers" harassed out of the District because I dont give a Rat's Patootie about Standards or Proficiencies. Its about the students.

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

          by OregonOak on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 11:52:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  LOL, I have kept two cardboard boxes in my (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            room all year for the day they come and take me out as well, I sense it may be coming.  I gave out summer homework assignments to parents this year.  I hoard eyeglasses that parents won't send in the following day once I get them.  I had the kids write fiction stories in which video game play took over their lives.  I call EVERY SINGLE DAY if a kid comes to school and tells me they have not gotten their med's (after parents tell me they are supposed to be taking them), or parents don't keep their word about other promises.  I'm trying my darndest to figure out how to get on that X-box chat thing and talk my kids off of the video games in the mornings.  They laugh at me when I tell them they will be seeing me on Mario Cart pretty soon.  I'm with you, by any means necessary.

            I have never quite understood how people think teachers are in charge of curriculum and methods anyway.  Anyone anywhere near today's classroom knows that most of our day is proscribed by administrators, directors and superintendents, and that they are getting their directives from the most important person in education, our Asst. Supt. of Finance.  

            •  Here, its Intel and Nike.. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Karma for All

              The Real School Board. (wink wink, nod wink) We have hundreds of administrators and teachers whose lips are in a permanent state of pucker fawning over the wise words of the wisest CEO's in the History of the Known Universe, God Bless Them.

              I see that Mr. Bernanke visited them this spring and FORGOT to tell the rest of us he was in town! OOOpps! Slip up. I am sure that that oversight will be corrected next time he makes it over to the Other Coast.


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

              by OregonOak on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 12:58:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Societal change (6+ / 0-)
      Truly reforming education means that as a society we would have to make it a priority to majorly shift our lifestyles.  It would take employers who are interested in supporting human beings with work requirements that make adults accessible to children.  It would take marketing agencies who are on the side of a healthy populace.  It would take a real set of societal ethics for the benefit of what society in America was supposed to be about in the first place, life, liberty, pursuit of happiness vs. the self-righteous, segmented judgment that passes for societal ethics today.  When we talk about educational reform we should all understand that what we are talking about is societal reform as well.
      I was just talking with my spouse (leftyparent) yesterday about this, using almost the same words!

      I was a school counselor years ago at a startup nonprofit charter.  Even though most of the families there were more involved because they had proactively found us, I still found the issues in any particular family of work and scheduling stress from all of us living compartmentalized lives.  Having to get up really early with parents often having long commutes, the parents going off the work, the kids to school and then coming home to dinner prep, chores, homework, etc. is, imo, too fractured.

      And everyone is so used to leading fractured lives that they have no experience of, no clue about, what it might be like to live a more organic, holistic life.  One in which family members have time to relate to each other in more meaningful ways, in which learning is natural, arising out of fully living life no matter one's age.  Rather than "schooling" sequestered from life, segregated by age and dictated by those mostly from higher up and business.

      So how to contribute to societal shift?  That is the question, isn't it.

      •  That would be the most significant part (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        of true educational reform.  We must connect current research about what is ailing our future generations to their very curriculum, beginning in primary school and following them progressively throughout their education.  They have a right to know what we (should) know about their own brain and body development, how our society's habits affect their quality of life, etc.  We need an effort to link medical (neurological), psychological, nutrition research with early education again.

        And, we need parents and "reformers" from the private sector on board.

      •  Calling out the inhuman "treadmill"... (0+ / 0-)

        and encouraging more kids and their parents to jump off would be one step forward.  I think most kids lives are way too structured with activities particularly not of their own choosing that they are not so much invested in.  

        IMO we should encourage kids to do more things outside of the school context, including encouraging them not to go to college right out of high school, unless there is a compelling interest they have identified that they want to pursue.

        Cooper Zale Los Angeles

        by leftyparent on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 01:32:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sleep schedules (4+ / 0-)

      One of the benefits of homeschooling my two I've found is I can customize their day to their natural sleep schedules. My daughter (9) is on a more 'typical' sleep schedule. She goes to bed at 11 pm, and gets up around 8:30, 9. By 11 am she's eaten, bathed, and is focused and ready to work.

      My autistic teenager on the other hand, goes to bed at 3am and gets up around 1pm. He starts his school day at 3pm when he's most alert and focused. When he was going to public school we had a HUGE issue with insomnia with him, and getting him up and moving in the morning was a nightmare. He was drowsy all day at school and came home frustrated and stressed out. But he still had an easier time focusing for homework than he ever did in school, despite his school day.

      This schedule has had the added benefit of giving us time for one on one teaching with both children. By the time our son is ready to start our daughter is usually finishing up. There's time for anything we're doing that overlaps the two (science experiments, cooking, history projects for example), but as their grade levels are so different (she just finished 3rd and he just finished 10th) this has worked very well for us.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 08:55:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  HOMESCHOOLING!! (0+ / 0-)

        My parents cannot deal with the economic mess they find themselves in, the educational deficits they themselves have, the time committment of having to work three jobs, and the idea that the Professionals have given up on their child.

        No, you are wrong. Speaking from your isolated perspective as an upwardly oriented middle class American, you cannot IMAGING the daily efforts most parents are dealing with in my students' lives.

        You are making the fallacy of judging the world by your own circumstances,  where most of the world makes less than 2 dollars a DAY and most parents had to drop out before the 6th grade. You are living in a Libertarian Fantasy World, and your advocacy here of homeschooling will condemn millions to perpetual poverty if politicians and policy makers listen to you.

        You are no help at all.

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

        by OregonOak on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 11:10:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Um... I think you're over reacting. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Karma for All, angelajean

          We are able to home school because we are both disabled, and for the record, we live at 50% of the poverty level. We are no where near middle class or "upwardly mobile middle class". So no, I'm not living in anyone's fantasy world. We're making the best out of the situation we're in. For us, homeschooling was the optimal course to go for our children, I never said it would work for everyone and I know very well how economic conditions are right now.

          And while I don't assume to know what any other parent is going through, please don't assume our situation is all roses and butterflies. We sacrifice a lot for our kids and for their education. Nor are we in a great situation financially or health wise. We are known as the "cripple house" for a reason.

          I was actually just making a point about the issue of lack of sleep. For us, our daughter would be able to function on a public school timetable (so far as sleep/awake cycle). My son has never been able to. He was public schooled through elementary, it has never worked for him. My son did not sleep through the night until he was 14 years old, and even that was not 'through the night', more like through the morning. And for much of those years he was a wandering risk on top of that. I know about lack of sleep and hard parenting. I know about tough decisions.

          What I am saying is that sometimes the lack of sleep has nothing to do with the parents decisions or lack of parenting. It doesn't matter what I take away, it wouldn't matter if I turned off all power to my son's room, he has NEVER slept at night. He'd pace, or he'd tear things up (he's destroyed several mattresses this way), or he'd just lay in his bed and scream, but he wouldn't sleep. Even things the doctors prescribed him to help him sleep didn't work.
          What worked was a combination of letting him sleep on his own schedule and melatonin. Until we could give him that option he was miserable, and he would have remained so.

          As for your assertion that "most parents had to drop out before 6th grade" I believe that is a gross overstatement. I don't think the national high school drop out rate has reached 51% yet, and of those who have, I don't believe the age of drop out to be 12 years old or younger.

          "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

          by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 12:21:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I apologize for my tone. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FloridaSNMOM, Karma for All

            But, I must say,  do not think that reviewing individual situations in an anecdotal form about HomeSchooling is very productive.

            In the larger sense, in the sense of what can work for the majority of the population, public school is the best option of all the options. Of course there have always been ways to take time off from school, or work with the school due to family issues, or to adjust schedules. These ways are always available.

            But in the main, the advocacy of Homeschooling as an alternative for policy makers to consider on a large scale is a distraction from the Underfunding and Disorganization of the school systems due to constant harassment by the entitled and the stubborn. I know you are neither one of these groups. But they exist, and both tend to rip apart Public Schools with anecdotal stories about how horrifying their school experience was.

            We are so blessed in our country with the means to survive, even at levels of poverty which we consider appaling here, but which the world views as extravagent luxury.

            I too am a lower income teacher teaching low income students, and I can say as an absolute fact that Homeschooling for them is not a viable option, and the discussion of it AS IF IT WERE is demoralizing in the extreme.

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

            by OregonOak on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 12:47:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  In the case of my son (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              angelajean, Karma for All

              there was no "working with the school" by the time he would be awake and alert, school would be getting out. And the school was very very unwilling (in middle and high school) to even give him an IEP or any accommodations (because academically he's fine, it's social/behavioral/sensory he's not) despite his being in a self contained classroom in elementary.

              But, I don't agree that homeschoolers have no voice, and that what we do cannot be helpful. For my son it was homeschool or let him continue to be completely frustrated with school and hate learning. It was homeschool or maybe have him end up as a suicide due to bullying statistic by now. That's how serious it was by the end of 5th grade.

              Many of the things we do however could work to help kids in public school who aren't succeeding, if they would be implemented. I think for example, literature classes could be made more popular and more successful if kids were able to choose from a selection of books rather than being told they had to read certain ones. (Maybe grouping kids who pick the same book and letting them work on group projects.) You and I know as readers that sometimes you just can't stand certain books. Even if you force your way through them, how much are you learning from a book you can't stand? How much of that book will you remember 10 years later?

              "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

              by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 01:08:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This: (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                And the school was very very unwilling (in middle and high school) to even give him an IEP or any accommodations (because academically he's fine, it's social/behavioral/sensory he's not) despite his being in a self contained classroom in elementary.
                is a major Catch 22 in my district which teachers continually come up against.  Schools are required to accommodate behaviors that impede learning.  Therefore, if learning is happening accommodations can be taken away.  It is very difficult, as a teacher, to deal with this issue.  Parents, naturally, don't want their students written up, and yet behavioral issues that impede learning would actually mean behavior that leads to suspension and keeps students from attending school.  And so, many parents come into meetings working against the very teachers that are trying to work for them within the flawed system.  Try doing this and all the while being unable to say anything about it.  Some district special ed representatives play up to the idea that the child is "ready for more independence" in direct oppposition to the teacher, who know the child needs these services.  This is because it is their job to meet a budget.  Parents hear what they want to hear, progress is made, services are gone.  (I know that was not what happened in your case).

                In utter logical disconnect we have the state citing us for suspending students with IEP's, when in fact, this may be the only evidence teachers can provide to show behavior as an impediment to learning for students who can achieve academically with behavioral supports in place.  These behavioral supports, by the way, as soon as they are working, the district tries everything it can to take them away (like aides, etc.) and often parents go right along with it as they don't want to hear that their child may not actually be ready for this.  

                If I could give one bit of advice to parents, trust and support your special ed. teachers over the special ed. administration.  Despite bad press, these teachers did not choose to teach these children because they were looking for paid summers off.  They do have your kids best interest at heart, even if it seems counterintuitive to let them document the behaviors.  We can't tell you this and keep our jobs though, so you have to either trust us or make it a practice to always err on the side of holding on to services (unless teachers support the release of them).     Oh, and also, stop saying it is OK to not have a parent advocate present at your meeting, in fact, make sure you call in advance and refuse to attend if one is not there!  

                •  Special ed teacher.. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Karma for All

                  The teacher and I were both telling them he wouldn't be able to handle it. He couldn't even handle the tour of the middle school, he was overwhelmed by the noise and the bells and had to be brought back to the elementary school early. His teacher was the one who recommended home schooling him rather than putting him through the torture that would have been middle school for him. Seems the school tended to do this with all of his kids.

                  "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                  by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 08:52:48 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  If the teacher recommended homeschooling, (0+ / 0-)

                    in a meeting, you should have been eligible for home teaching you know.  Under IDEA, it is the school's responsibility to educate all students according to need in their least restrictive setting.  We actually bused one student, all year, out of our district for such a reason.  Financially, the school district is responsible for the legal IEP developed at the CSE meeting.  

                    However, if a child needs more intensive services, and a smaller class would be most appropriate, schools are required to provide that. In rare situations where students must be served in special schools, at home, or in hospitals, schools must continue to provide educational services.

                    I don't know your particulars, but you may want to apply for reimbursement for educational expenses if the school was not providing you with services.

                    •  I'd rather not have the school have control. (0+ / 0-)

                      To do what you're advising I'd have to use their curriculum, and likely the FCAT as well, which is a HUGE issue for him. While the funding would be nice, I'd rather not have it at the expense of a loss of control and flexibility. I could use Florida Virtual School to get the same benefits for him, but again, it would be a loss of control and flexibility. We are considering using FVS for a computer programming course next year, because we're going to start experimenting with other learning experiences so he can better choose what type of college/tech/adult learning to utilize. Essentially to find the right fit for him, be that online courses, a small campus, etc.
                      I've found what works really well for him, and I'll stick to that. I do know I had that right though, thank you. My husband had a lot of surgeries in high school and utilized that when he was going to be out of school for extended periods.

                      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                      by FloridaSNMOM on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 01:19:02 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  Check out nutrition too, what is he eating (0+ / 0-)

            in the afternoon/evenings?  Good luck with this, I know that it can be very hard to normalize sleep disruption but it is so very important to being able to process thoughts.  If he doesn't grow into a schedule that gives him more daylight hours in the next couple of years you may want to consult with a specialist in sleep disorders.  Sugar processing is another avenue to explore.

            •  He's a severe hypoglycemic (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Karma for All

              He doesn't overdo sugar, but he has to have some sugar. The important thing of him is keeping sugar levels as level as possible so the hypoglycemia doesn't go into crisis (and the risk of it swinging into diabetes doesn't go up). I'm not worried about "normalizing" his sleep schedule. For him this is normal and he's sleeping better than he ever did before in his lifetime. Not everyone is a day person. His biological father works third shift for this reason. He has a regular sleep schedule, it doesn't vary all over the place and he is sleeping solidly and soundly. Why would I try to force him to change into a sleep schedule that was disruptive and ineffective just because that's how the majority of people sleep?

              As for more daylight hours, the light hurts his eyes and he gets sunburn at the drop of a hat, and with more than a half hour exposure, even with sunscreen, he gets sun poisoning. He generally doesn't go outside until dusk unless he has to.

              "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

              by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 01:26:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Late bedtime, late rising is common for (0+ / 0-)

                adolescents and teens, I thought you might want to think about possible circadian rhythm triggers for behavior if it became an issue later in life.    


                Interestingly, my kids' dad also worked the night shift (they have ADHD, different issue than your son, but they are also sugar-challenged).  I wonder, really, how much glucose processing (which as I said in above post, has genetic links) can reveal.  I know my ex used to get up for sugar in a sleep-walking state in the middle of the night and eat it without knowing.  He has always prefered the night shift as well.

                •  I understand it's common in teen years (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Karma for All

                  but he's been like this his whole life. Waking him up for school when he was in elementary was a nightmare because he wouldn't fall asleep until 3am, and we had to wake him up at 6am. And to top it off, at that point, I was working dayshift, and was getting almost no sleep because if I went to sleep he'd let himself out of the house. Those were 'fun' years LOL. Maybe his sleep schedule will change when he gets older, but I'm not going to hold my breath. Nor am I going to lose sleep over it. He'll find what fits him.

                  "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

                  by FloridaSNMOM on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 02:32:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  You actually don't know FloridaSNMOM's background (3+ / 0-)

          She has written about making homeschooling affordable - her family is not the middle class Americans you are thinking of but is probably closer to that of the parents you are familiar with from your classroom. It was only because she felt there were no other solutions for her son that she started down this road.

          It's time to quit thinking that you know what is right for all parents and kids in poverty, even those in your own class. Maybe they would benefit from homeschooling, if they even knew it was a legal option. It's not right for all families, but it certainly isn't limited to rich parents or white parents or those with college degrees. Poor parents homeschool and they do it very well. You just haven't happened to meet any. But is that any surprise? Most of the parents probably believe what you believe... that it isn't even remotely possible. If they're aren't given the choice, how can you know it isn't a good fit?

  •  I watched one of his first speeches at TED. (6+ / 0-)

    He really knows what he is talking about, but don't worry about him catching on here. America and the "reformers" would rather listen to Gates and the Billionaires for education advice. Our country is lost on this issue. Nice catch, T&R.

    •  It's our job to change that. (5+ / 0-)

      My first goal is DailyKos... then I can take on the rest of the US :)

      •  I applaud your goal, and I have these debates (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Karma for All, Mostel26

        with other individuals all the time, but I'm not hopeful. Americans have bought into the idea that teachers are somehow the biggest problem with education, and many on our side are just as guilty.

        Waiting for Superman was a great example of how the elite in this country use the tools of propaganda to accomplish their agenda. The demonization of teachers is so much easier than doing what Robinson suggests. I'm married to a public school teacher who busts her butt everyday for her kids. She will soon be fired and have to reapply for her job when her high school gets turned into a charter. America is only exceptional at dehumanizing human beings anymore, it is truly pathetic.  

        •  did you read the story about the 6 year old today? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          reconnected, FloridaSNMOM

          She is changing her world. If she can do it at six, we can do it as adults.

          We need to start organizing better - I'm in contact with a guy who is considering starting a MoveOn-like website for education that would allow people to sign up for updates and sign petitions. They would receive info about national issues as well as state ones. We could begin to focus instead of bouncing all over the place.

          I also met a lot of neat people at Netroots that are starting local efforts and even one for parents that is on the national level. Things are changing, albeit slowly.

          We also need to start with some basics at the national level... lets get rid of NCLB. And lets get rid of all this standardized testing. If parents can get behind that kind of a movement, it would be a good start.

          For now, I'm going to keep talking about progressive education here at DailyKos. Many of the conversations that happen here are just the same old reform issues that don't solve anything.

  •  AngelaJean (6+ / 0-)

    This is great, and it is exactly what people need to see and understand.

    I had never seen the ADHD connection, and it is incredibly plausible.  Thank you.

    Are you familiar with John Taylor Gatto?  He expands upon many of the historical points brought up here regarding the industrial model of education and exposes that the similarity between the conveyor belt and education, the use of bells to designate periods and interrupt concentration and true learning, and the purpose of stifling creative and critical thinking in the majority of students was by design.

    I think this is ESSENTIAL history to understand when evaluating the reformist movements happening now.  We have been down the path of billionaires designing education systems for the masses before.  This way does not lie charity.

    If you can handle it, I also HIGHLY recommend the film Human Resources.  It is a comprehensive film, to say the least, and covers much more than just education, in a much less optimistic fashion, but I think it is one of the most important films of our time for understanding our present condition.

    Thank you for posting this!

    “America is just the country that shows how all the written guarantees in the world for freedom are no protection against tyranny and oppression of the worst kind.” ~Peter Kropotkin

    by chipmo on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 07:41:31 AM PDT

  •  My experiences (5+ / 0-)

    My own kids did very well in the regular school model, but my nephew was a little off the wall. He had trouble focusing and had poor self control, although he was (and is) an intelligent lovable guy. I supported my sister in all her attempts to help him succeed, but I told her "Don't drug him up!"
    I had seen too many instances of drugged up kids in my classes and I did not like what I saw.
    My nephew has a degree in economics now and is a musician and a hard-working sales guy. Love and support saw him through.

  •  meh (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    zephron, Subversive, ZenTrainer

    10 minutes into the vid, nothing to propose yet, flippant dismissal of the existence of ADHD / flippant claim to have diagnosed the root cause / shallow discussion of the changes in thinking patterns from 5yo to 12yo ... I've had enough.

  •  It seems to me that (4+ / 0-)

    a major problem with abandoning the old model is that nobody knows what a new model should look like.  Further, the system of academic disciplines has pretty much fossilized.  There are attempts at interdisciplinary education, but such attempts requires specialists in different fields to have a productive conversation, and that's hard to do because they speak using different vocabularies.

    Being a scientist, I am in complete agreement with you that the learning of science and mathematics should be an esthetic experience, and at its best, it is such an experience.  There is real beauty in science, but it seems only a minority of us are pre-programmed to appreciate that beauty, and the general low quality of science teaching is certainly to blame in part.  (I'm not trying to insult anyone with this statement.  I know universities not producing enough math and science teachers, and in some school districts, such courses are either not offered, or taught but non-specialists with at best limited expertise in the discipline.)

    I have no idea what a new model for public education should look like.  I don't know how to erase the lines between disciplines.  I do know that it's probably impossible to try to eradicate boredom from education.  Learning is work, and sometimes, that just means you have to plow through stuff you find boring.

    -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

    by gizmo59 on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 08:01:17 AM PDT

    •  Plowing through boredom (4+ / 0-)
      I do know that it's probably impossible to try to eradicate boredom from education.  Learning is work, and sometimes, that just means you have to plow through stuff you find boring.
      I think that education that is imposed, especially when it is one size fits all, is bound to produce boredom because it's impossible on that basis to engage every person all the time.

      I think that's a bit different than learning at times being hard work.  It's been my experience that when learning happens through intrinsic motivation, through choice, then the learner is engaged in such a way that the plowing through is simply part of their chosen process.

      •  there is a real difference between (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Karma for All, angelajean, gizmo59

        learning something because it's required, and learning something because you want to.

        There are ways to combine them. Projects that can be tailored to a persons interest can do this. They pick the project, and you provide some things that have to be included.

        They have lots of leeway, and the project is something that they picked, so there's at least some interest.

        Some people who haven't ever had to figure anything out on their own get very frustrated, though. But that is part of learning. Just as learning to persevere is.

      •  I agree, but the truth is, that once our kids (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        get to an institute of higher learning they are going to have to "plow through" a great many educational experiences that they are going to have to rely on sheerly the idea of getting that degree to perform in.  We all know it.  And, the university model has pushed down rather than the developmental education model pushing up, so that is the reality for our kids.

        •  I agree with you (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gizmo59, Karma for All

          The university level does have requirements that many students would choose not to take.  

          Where intrinsic motivation comes in is the student choosing to be there.  

          If they have decided that what they want includes that degree (and are not there simply because it's expected or they didn't know what else to do) then that motivation helps greatly in following through with what they wouldn't choose to in the details.

    •  Don't we have a great time ahead of us? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      We should be the ones talking about that new model and figuring it out.

      In your opinion, what would be the ideal school? Do you have so much to write that it could be a diary? Would you like to publish it for us? Let's keep this conversation going!

      •  Good lord... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angelajean, Karma for All

        Despite being an educator, I am not any kind of expert in education.  I have some amorphous thoughts on the topic, but nothing that would make an intelligible diary.

        Back in the late '60s-early '70s, I transferred to a new elementary school which was just three blocks away from my parents' house.  I went there for two years, 5th and 6th grades.  In accord with the spirit of the times, the school had incorporated certain experimental concepts in its degign.  There were quartets of classrooms (called pods) with removable walls to make for a large open space as needed.  The teachers in each pod taught as a team.  Students moved from one teacher to another for different subjects.  There seemed to be greater opportunity for dialog with teachers, and a freedom to pursue what interested each student at his/her own pace.  For example, in reading, there was a selection of books for particular ability levels.  To pass from one level to the next, a student had to read a particular number of these books, and pass a brief oral test with the teacher on each.  It was entirely up to the students which books they chose to read.  Myself, I enjoyed this experience.

        Not many years later, the movable walls were replaced with permanent ones, and the school went back to the same old same old.  I expect the experimental practices that they started with were too unwieldy or too expensive, or perhaps there was a "back to basics" movement that stamped out the creativity.  Or maybe too many students were taking advantage of the freedom they were afforded in order to goof off.  Or maybe the damned removable walls jammed to the point that they wouldn't move anymore.  Nonetheless, I think there can be a different way to model classes beyond what we've been doing for a couple centuries.

        -5.13,-5.64; If you gave [Jerry Falwell] an enema, you could bury him in a matchbox. -- Christopher Hitchens

        by gizmo59 on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 11:38:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Fascinating. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karma for All, angelajean, Mostel26

    As far as it goes, great.

    One thing I'll have to give the current crop of "education reformers," the "choice" and "accountability" people--one net positive they've introduced, is their promotion of the idea that "any child, from any background, can learn and excel in the classroom." In the discussion about public education, this point hadn't been emphasized. It had largely gotten lost.

    But I believe there's another fatal weakness in current models of education "reform": education "reformers," including policy-makers, often aren't operating in good faith. For their majestic rhetoric about "any child being able to learn and excel in the classroom, given the proper supports," many people involved directly in "education reform" don't actually WANT poor, brown-skinned kids turned-on to school. They don't want these kids later going into business and politics and becoming medical researchers, and so on. They like a large, ill-educated under-class just fine, thank you. It's worked for them.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 08:01:41 AM PDT

    •  I had a kid who did not learn in a classroom... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angelajean, karmsy

      but learned very well at his own direction outside the classroom.  

      Also, radical educators like John Taylor Gatto argue that the U.S. has a three-tiered education system by design...

      Tier One - Elite public schools for the children of the elite to teach them to wield power

      Tier Two - "Good" public schools to train the professionals that will staff the corporations run by the children of the elite.

      Tier Three - "Bad" public schools to train the economically disenfranchised to become low-level "worker-bees" and soldiers for the military.

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles

      by leftyparent on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:28:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think John Taylor Gatto's is (0+ / 0-)

        an important voice in discussions about public schooling in this country. It absolutely burns me up when I hear him dismissed as a "right-wing hack." He's ideologically quite ambiguous, it's true, but is that a bad thing?

        Credit Gatto with pointing out a number of abuses in public education that give lily-livered liberals the vapors. There's the fact that teachers and administrators, who draw their pay checks from the publicly funded "education field," are often more invested in keeping students together, en masse, than in individual students excelling. I've worked in and around schools for a long time, and I've witnessed examples of this personally.

        "Education reform" is a discussion that I don't believe can ever be reduced to black-and-white. It contains infinite shades of gray, and we won't start making headway until we acknowledge that.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 11:22:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm a big Gatto fan!... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          He has certainly broadened my perspective on things, with what I would call a more "left-libertarian" view point.  From reading Gatto and all the 28 books he recommended, my own opinion has moved in that left-libertarian direction.

          He is certainly a provocative word-smith.  I live his "weapons of mass instruction".

          Cooper Zale Los Angeles

          by leftyparent on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 01:50:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You get many in this venue (0+ / 0-)

            who don't want to go near Gatto because he's "anti-union" and all this. That's a real shame, for you, and for American public education, generally.

            I have been that person who shoots down ignorant-sounding comments about public education in this venue. Often these blurts are made by proponents of "choice" and "accountability," who think Michelle Rhee is doing a dandy job, and whatever. But, any well-informed and credible person with input into the education dialog, we have to listen to.

            It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

            by karmsy on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 06:35:53 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I would agree with that!... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              So what do you think of Gatto's assertion that the U.S. public education system has become a tool of the elite to maintain their privilege above the "99%", thru "weapons of mass instruction"?

              Cooper Zale Los Angeles

              by leftyparent on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 07:22:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  His assertion that public education in the U.S. (0+ / 0-)

                arose, not out of some sweet, Jeffersonian hope of developing the potential of each individual, but out of the need of 19th-century captains of industry for a docile work force, is really compelling. So, yes, by this reasoning, there are different educational tracks, for the 99%, and for children of the 1%. Actually, I want Gatto to go a step further than I ever really heard him do, in asking explicitly what the children of the 1% get in school, that the 99% kids don't. The makings of the 1% education, of course, are exactly what we want for everybody. Just what is "the best education money can buy"? What does it come down to? Small--even tiny--student-teacher ratios? More than likely, that's a big part of it. While the jury is out, officially, on the efficacy of small student-teacher ratios in instruction, versus more conventional class sizes, the colloquial consensus is pretty resounding: any student needs at least some undivided attention from a mentor. What else do the 1% kids get? Quality, knowledgeable teachers, who don't come from backgrounds in "education," but who deeply know the subject they teach. What else? Probably lots of student and teacher leeway in designing curricula (although this can easily become watered-down). These are a few of the hallmarks of a really quality education, and Gatto hints at them all.

                It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

                by karmsy on Mon Jun 18, 2012 at 08:24:52 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Am going to pass this on to (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gizmo59, leftyparent, angelajean

    everyone I know who is interested in eduction (and a few who aren't but maybe this will get them interested)

    Thank you!

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 08:16:22 AM PDT

  •  If Ken Robinson wants my attention while (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    critiquing American education, the first thing he should do is stop calling himself, "Sir".

    Unless, of course, that's what his parents named him.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 08:19:05 AM PDT

  •  What a wonderful video! (9+ / 0-)

    The dismantling of creative thinking also extends to the workplace.  For years, the division I was in as a land use planner had used collaborative thinking to come up with better ideas for solutions.  Then we got a new supervisor who banned us from working together on any projects.  Not only did the quality of our work deteriorate, but the morale within our division went right out the window and several people left.

    It was then in my case, and is now in education and our society, all about top down control.  Here in our education system, we have these wonderful young minds full of potential and we destroy much of that potential by enlisting more and more control over not only what they study but more importantly how they learn.  

    As an analogy, when my local government instituted monthly performance reports in which we were forced to quantify what we did.  Knowing the nature of what we did, I commented that it was impossible to assign a numeric value to the quality of service we were supposed to deliver.  For example, we were judged on how many phone calls we answered and how quickly we answered them.  We were not judged on how well we answered citizen inquiries which were often quite complex or the quality of information we were giving to the public.

    This video is a must see for everyone, not just those in education or with children in our education system.  It is actually is symptomatic of what is wrong in our society.  We no longer are allowed to derive satisfaction from doing our jobs well and learning from each other, because a job well done is not the purpose of work.  It is a competitive environment in which quality is secondary. Everything in our lives has become quantifiable and the number one quantifier of our lives is money.  Hopefully, some day that paradigm will be changed so the children in the future are not hampered or shortchanged by our education system.

    Thank you for this very important diary, angelajean!

    "Growing up is for those who don't have the guts not to. Grow wise, grow loving, grow compassionate, but why grow up?" - Fiddlegirl

    by gulfgal98 on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 08:30:33 AM PDT

  •  I just love RSA Animate (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, leftyparent, angelajean

    They always seem to punch right into the core of any issue and present it in a way that's visually entertaining and immensely informative. This is a particularly brilliant piece. Thanks so much for posting it.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." ~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama -7.88, -6.21

    by Siri on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 08:35:12 AM PDT

    •  The diagramming helps you visually keep... (0+ / 0-)

      the thread of the logical argument in front of you.  Very effective.  I work as a business analyst making a lot of visual presentations, and I really appreciate this technique.  Wish I had the graphic skills to do it myself.

      Cooper Zale Los Angeles

      by leftyparent on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 01:54:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  PS - He didn't address religion. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric0125, leftyparent, Mostel26

    Nothing beats the creativity out of you more than the idea that your thoughts aren't your own and are being put there by god or the devil.

    and their contempt for the Latin schools was applauded by Theodoric himself, who gratified their prejudices, or his own, by declaring that the child who had trembled at a rod would never dare to look upon a sword.

    by ban48 on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 08:49:35 AM PDT

  •  Weak video in a series of weak videos (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Karma for All

    I seem to be in the minority here (and in no way am I intending to criticize this diary).  But what I see in this video is typical of what I see in the whole series of flashy videos, and that is clever drawings of well-intentioned ideas mixed wih multiple instances of extreme speculation and no actual discrete suggestions.  

    For instance, ADHD medications are clearly over-prescribed, however there is NO evidence that this anesthetizes people in a way that prevents them from appreciating the arts.  And divergent thinking absolutely has some value, but so does complex, linear, rational thinking, and as children learn to do this there is no evidence that this crushes their "genius."  

    Add to that a bunch of fuzzy, warm-feeling, common sense stuff that nobody would disagree with, and then add the gimmick of the clever, novel drawing animation, and there you have a typical video in this series.

    Are you a Green who has difficulty telling Democrats and Republicans apart? Well, I have difficulty telling Greens and Maoists apart.

    by Subversive on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:29:12 AM PDT

    •  Comments like this are lazy (0+ / 0-)

      Don't get me wrong, I'm all for constructive criticism, but this is just flat, lazy criticism.

      I thought the video ended pretty abruptly, just as I expected he was going to propose a solution.  However, what the video proposes is a hypothesis -- that we would get better results by personalizing the educational system.  Is that true?  I don't know.  How about doing a google search for programs that have attempted to personalize it (found School of One) and seeing what their results are?  Or doing a search to see if other hypotheses had better outcomes such as focusing on better nutrition, or introduction of mandatory preschool, or focusing on character skills?

      Not everyone is going to hand you the problem and a proven solution all wrapped up on one golden plate.  Sometimes they're just asking questions and trying to get you thinking.  You have to do some critical thinking and some research on your own.

      I have another post below with links to interesting articles or podcasts regarding education that I've run across over the past few years.  Check them out.

      •  Perhaps the solution to "everything" that is wrong (0+ / 0-)

        ...with our educational system is to build a giant paper clip out of foam rubber.  :p

        Are you a Green who has difficulty telling Democrats and Republicans apart? Well, I have difficulty telling Greens and Maoists apart.

        by Subversive on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:33:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think the reason people respond to these so well (0+ / 0-) the same reason that (idiot conservative) people respond to Glenn Beck's chalkboard--they mistake format for content and are mesmerized by it.

      Are you a Green who has difficulty telling Democrats and Republicans apart? Well, I have difficulty telling Greens and Maoists apart.

      by Subversive on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:26:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree it is kind of mesmerizing... (0+ / 0-)

        Though it also gives you a continuing visual representation of the line of argument, which at least helps me keep the holistic argument in context more easily, than if I'm just processing sequential speech or writing.

        Cooper Zale Los Angeles

        by leftyparent on Sun Jun 17, 2012 at 01:57:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Poetic Education (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angelajean, reconnected, Nance

    I read a book not too long ago called Poetic Knowledge: The Recovery of Education, by James S. Taylor, that saw all of this coming years ago. Published in 1998, Mr. Taylor describes everything that Sir Ken points out, together with a model of education that can reverse the damage.
         Indeed, Friedrich Schiller foresaw all this in the early 1790s when he published his Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man; and the antidotes to the kind of deadened education we live with can even be traced back to the way Montaigne's father had him educated in the 1630s and 40s, as described in Montaigne's essay "On the Education of Children."
         Basically, it amounts to having a well and broadly educated teacher who knows how to put vital questions in front of young people, LISTEN to their attempts to answer, POINT them in whatever directions they need to go to find out more on their own, and COACH them in developing their own innate curiosity, intelligence, creativity, and character.
         Everything else is just lifeless indoctrination.

  •  I forwarded this vid... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to a HS teacher friend of mine who visited China.  He showed it there to a group of students, said it absolutely blew them away.

    The last sound on earth will be the squawk of an optimist.

    by CT yanqui on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:51:45 AM PDT

  •  My daughter has ADHD (4+ / 0-)

    As part of her syndrome from one of her chromosome deletions. So the minute he started jumping on about ADHD, I was ready to get my back up... but, he is right.

    But the thing is, my daughter's ADHD ws so severe and obvious from the age of 2, that the educational system didn't work for her at all, and we recognized it almost immediately. In 1st grade, we moved her into a school which teaches by mastery, and groups the kids according to their level of skill not age, in very small classrooms (6 or less students per class, for math, she had 3 this past year). They use smart boards, and assistive technology and multimedia approaches, and some concepts are taught across grade levels, for the whole school for the entire year.

    And the summer school program? It's not some glorifed babysitting service. It's real academic work in very small groups for reading, writing, and math in the morning, and then arts, creativity, music, field trips and swimminginthe afternoon as a school. We get a report card at the end of it, and in the fall, my daughter starts where she left off at the end of July.

    She has flourished in this environment. You should see how happy and positive the school is -and every single kid in it has an "IEP". Every child is approached as "unique" in their goals and plan for the year.

    School districts would avoid this model like the plague. it's expensive. You have to throw away the cookie-cutter bureaucratic mindset entirely, and it takes dedication, creativity, and complete divorce from any kind of "standardization".

    Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. ~ Yoda Political Compass: -8.50, -6.46

    by Cinnamon on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 09:56:42 AM PDT

    •  I think that over diagnosis of ADHD has made it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cinnamon, FloridaSNMOM

      harder for those families that are struggling with true cases ADHD.

      You don't mention it but imply that your school is a private one? Is that right?

      •  Yes, and the tuition is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angelajean, FloridaSNMOM

        about $35,000 this year.

        Not including Occupational Therapy, afterschool clubs and the afterschool program, or the summer program, or all the little fundraisers and field trips and supplies that are normal fo the school year.... and the school is operating on a shoestring, barely keeping the doors open. It's nothing like your average "private school" where parents send their kids for the prestige. This is only for special kids, so few stay for  the whole K-9, and you don't expect siblings to go to the school, unless they have special needs and learning disabilities. The local school districts HATE paying for IEP kids to come there - so expensive - so they fight it tooth and nail, and if the parents don't win in the process, the kids get yanked back into the public schools again, into t he general population.

        It's worth every penny. I'm lucky my Ex, her dad, can afford it and is willing to pay for it. If he couldn't I think I'd be selling myself on streetcorners to keep her there.

        Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. ~ Yoda Political Compass: -8.50, -6.46

        by Cinnamon on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 11:22:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  ok. that's pretty neat. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angelajean, leftyparent

    creating a whole series of progressive political/issue ads in the same style would be pretty slick and probably powerful.

    RSA animate has a number of vids but they're not really political. just enlightening. which, i guess, given the willful ignorance progressives are up against, is sorta the same thing.

    "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face" & "Polka will never die." - H. Dresden.

    by bnasley on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:13:52 AM PDT

  •  My life was forever changed by 1 educator (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angelajean, reconnected, leftyparent

    R. Buckminster Fuller

    My first encounter: walking past his dome house on campus at Southern Illinois University.

    My second: a class in which we collaboratively were forced to come up with 300 uses for a

    During one exercise [ mind stretch ] we had to design an ego-centered educational system. Since that time I have driven hundreds of liniar thinkers right over he edge.

    Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth followed by Critical Pathwill warp your mind.

    Bring those still in Afghanistan home NOW . . . It's long past time.

    by llbear on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:43:56 AM PDT

  •  Ken Robinson (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angelajean, leftyparent

    Lot's of his talks on TED
    Here is his 2006 talk:
    There are also more - just see the What to Watch Next Box.

    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. - JFK

    by taonow on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:45:03 AM PDT

  •  Post a link to the video... (0+ / 0-) the embed isn't showing for me.

    Thank you.

    Regulated capital serves the people, unregulated capital serves itself.

    by Alumbrados on Sat Jun 16, 2012 at 10:59:16 AM PDT

  •  It's not about learning the answers. (4+ / 0-)
    I also hate the idea that kids are learning the "right" answers.
    It's about learning how to find answers -- how to collect data, make measurements, and use critical thinking to analyze the evidence.

    Answers that are already known (in the back of the book) can just be looked up.

  •  Marion Brady (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, angelajean

    Not everyone wants to, needs to or can homeschool/unschool. But I do wish some of Marion Brady's ideas about how public school could work would make it into the thinking about all of this.


  •  T&R for the discussion. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, Karma for All

    I think that there are a lot of issues here. One-quarter of the kids in the US are food insecure. This means that they are experiencing hunger at some time during the year. Kids who come to school hungry or poorly nourished are not going to learn well, regardless of the curriculum.

    Not all public school systems are failing. There are some excellent schools and school districts in this country. Many of them are in middle class districts in the north--there are certainly class issues at work here as well. We need to look at what works as well as what does not work.

    I also respect the rights of parents to home school or unschool, but many parents are not in a position to do that. It wasnever something that I wanted to do, and I am surethat my kids received a better education from our local public schools than they would have received though home schooling.  We need a strong and successful public school system in this country, but we ought to be open to alternatives.

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