Archive | March, 2011

Facebook: the Death of Classroom Education

30 Mar

I’m all for the productive uses of technology in the classroom: the ability to research or access information on the web is an invaluable resource for students and teachers alike. We’re in a digital age! The possibilities for technological intellectual stimulation are endless.

But as the madman in Anderson’s Feed tells the world: “We live in a time of calamity!”

Social networking is a wonderful resource; Facebook allows us to communicate with friends and family around the world. Every single person can open her or her ideas and passions to an audience previously unimaginable- with the click of one button, you can share with 700 “friends” a poem you wrote about your dying cat – and people will respond. Blogging and Twitter reveal the writer to an international stage, where the activist can connect with the philanthropist, the organization can meet the volunteer, and colleagues can collaborate to reform the profession – what a potential for wildfire revolution!

Instead, we’ve developed a mass market of meaningless social connectedness and technological irresponsibility. Continue reading

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Getting to the Heart of the Matter: Diane Ravitch

29 Mar

The fundamentals of good education are to be found in the classroom, the home, the community, and the culture, but reformers in our time continue to look for shortcuts and quick answers. Untethered to any genuine philosophy of education, our current reforms will disappoint us, as others have in the past (Ravitch, 2010, pg. 225). Continue reading

The Shadow of Doubt: Darkness Easily Dissolved by Dostoevsky, Donne, and the Outspoken Apology of a Pre-Service Teacher

22 Mar

Click me!

I’m just going to say it: the current state of affairs in the field of education makes me incredibly uncomfortable.

Why am I going to be a teacher? What am I getting myself into? The political stage is mess, the public has taken a stand against teachers and the profession, and reforms encouraging the turnover of education into a private business are readily being passed and accepted on the basis of faith, i.e. despite all the excitement about charter schools, there is still no research to support the claims that charter schools outperform public schools. Again, read the research here.

Education does not look like a promising profession in which to devote oneself. The teacher is no longer the apple of the public’s eye, the security of a wage over minimum may disappear with the advent of charters, and with curriculum reform, teachers may even lose the ability to choose the content of their classroom. Continue reading

Fighting Poverty and Media Idiocy in America: Local Activism

14 Mar

If we follow the media, our lives are saturated with not only the indulgent exploits of Charlie Sheen, but more importantly, government spending and cutting. Everywhere we look it’s a program cut, a new bill on spending, a fresh controversy for the budget. While the government is trying to bring the economy out of the tank, the political effect of spending and lack of job creation is taking place at the individual level; poverty is real.

Some in media would like to argue that poverty is not real.

“You know one of my favorite quotes on poverty comes from Benjamin Franklin. I love this quote: We should make the poor uncomfortable and kick them out of poverty.” I love that! There’s compassion for ya. He knew if you made poverty more comfortable, there’s a lot of people that would be like, you know what, I’m just going to kick back here. I’m just going to — you know what I — I’m going to sit back and, you know, let the state give me a candle, you know. Kick them out of poverty! Give them something to strive for. Instead what happens is we enslave people in poverty because we give people everything, we make it easy for them to live in poverty and at the same time — it’s the combination of the two — at the same time the leaders will say, “You can’t make it, you can’t make it.””

Glenn Beck Continue reading

A Word to our Sponsors: an Educated Response to Federal Funding Cuts

11 Mar

Dr. Joe Lubig, NMU's Director of Field Experiences. Photo courtesy of the NMU Department of Education website.

On page seven of the Thursday, March 10, 2011 edition of the North Wind, Northern Michigan University’s campus newspaper, Dr. Lubig, NMU’s Director of Field Experiences, authored a “Letter to the Editor.” Dr. Lubig lends a local voice to the federal issue of budget cuts in education. To allow a larger base of readers to receive a well-informed opinion on the matter, I’ve reprinted Dr. Lubig’s letter as follows (published with permission):

National service programs shouldn’t have their funding cut

There has been much debate lately about what the federal government should and should not spend its money on. In an effort to address this issue, the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 1 – a bill that would eliminate billions from the current budget, and as a result, eliminate various federally-funded programs across the country.

Included in the elimination would be the Corporation for National and Community Service and the national service programs it administers (AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and Learn and Serve). As a Governor-appointed board member of the Michigan Community Service Commission, I have seen first-hand the impact of national service in the state. In Michigan, these programs have a long history of addressing critical challenges in communities, improving local economic opportunities, and enhancing the work of area organizations.

Before Congress eliminates national service programs, wouldn’t you like to know more about what national service is and what Michigan will be losing as a result of its elimination?

A loss of $28 million in federal funds to support Michigan’s national service efforts would mean eliminating the opportunity for nearly 47,000 residents to serve. The lack of service would mean low-income individuals and families would lose access to health care, adequate housing, and foreclosure prevention assistance. Struggling young people would be left without literacy services, academic support, and mentoring opportunities. Home bound seniors would be unable to maintain independence in their own homes.

The cuts would also force 2,300 organization and schools to address local issues of critical importance with little to no support or resources – including Goodwill, Red Cross chapters, Big Brother Big Sisters agencies, community health centers, Habitat for Humanity affiliates, and many more.

Let’s reconsider the value of national service and volunteerism – particularly in a state that has benefited so greatly from its impact. By doing so, we agree to prioritize the efforts of current programs and volunteers and ensure they can continue to make a difference in Michigan.

Joe Lubig

Michigan Community Service Commission


Thanks for speaking up, Dr. Lubig.

The Push for Common Curriculum: a Violation of the Spirit of Education

8 Mar

The call for a common curriculum has officially rumbled across the political wires. This week, 75 leaders in business, education, and government met to discuss and advocate the creation of shared curriculum guidelines. These guidelines will be based upon pre-existing common core standards.

While common curriculum guidance (also called “shared curriculum guidelines”) and common core standards are sister phrases, they are by no means identical in description. Continue reading

Glenn Beck vs. Jon Stewart: the Wisconsin Rumble

6 Mar

Courtesy of the Glenn Beck Wikipedia site

Courtesy of the Jon Stewart Wikipedia site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click the link below for an article from the Huffington Post and a segment of Jon Stewart’s Daily Show.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/01/jon-stewart-critiques-wis_n_829618.html

Just a warning: Stewart’s segment does have a “liberal” bias.

 

Click the link below for a segment of Glenn Beck’s radio show, courtesy of the Glenn Beck website.

http://www.glennbeck.com/2011/02/23/wisconsin-protester-fail/

Another warning: Beck’s segment does have a “conservative” bias.

 

It’s all entertainment, folks.