Archive | September, 2011

Destroy the Free Will! or Hitler’s Take on Education

19 Sep

I think everyone who reads my blog knows by now that I am anti the national education movement. I do not believe in national standards, federal control, or politicians (businessmen?) who have little to no experience in the field telling us how to run our states and classrooms.

Ahem.

I am going to share with you, dear readers, yet another interesting find in the national education movement – this one has to do with Nazism.

“… the new education must consist essentially in this, that it completely destroys freedom of will in the soil which it undertakes to cultivate, and produces on the contrary strict necessity in the decisions of the will…”

That line is a direct quote from Fichte’s Addresses to the German Nation. Fichte is suggesting a new order of education because the old order is just not working (hmmm, sound familar?). The old order of education sought to “at most only exhort to good order and morality” (i.e. teach the kids what is a good, moral choice and allow them to make the choice). Fichte suggests crushing free will – note that he uses the word “destroy” – and replacing it with strict necessity in the decisions of the will.

Fichte. Maybe he got used. Or maybe he was a crappy philosopher.

Fichte was promoting Nationalism in the face of foreign invasion (the Napoleonic Wars), so the circumstances were a bit different. However, extremism is still extremism, and I can’t find myself agreeing with a modern nationally controlled education system. Fichte goes on:

“…(as) national education is concerned, we are firmly convinced that, especially among the working classes, it cannot be either begun, continued, or ended in the parents’ house, nor, indeed, without complete separation of the children from them.”

Oh, is that because working class people are too stupid to let their children be properly educated? They would probably teach their children the awful values that accompany a working-class life. Damn those hard-working, inadequately compensated working class parents. Damn you.

Hitler capitalized on nationalistic writing to form organizations like the Hitler Youth. Currently, businesses may be capitalizing on schools’ failures to meet AYP (No Child Left Behind – arbitrary federal law?) to make profits. School is not a business.

While America is not yet tearing children from their parents and educating them in private institutions, I must ask We the People to consider the consequences of moving toward a rigorous national curriculum in collaboration with privatizing education. The function of today’s schools is to help the growth of the individual, to make students conscientious thinkers, and above all, appreciate free will by the ability to make intelligent decisions (i.e. SMART consumerism! Responsible usership!). Schools and teachers want kids to do amazing, incredible things and to pursue their dreams successfully; support your local, public schools. Help reform them – vote. Get involved. Support learning for all students; public schools offer this gift.

Know what you’re buying BEFORE you buy it. Canned curriculum, federal standards, privatization of schools, and teachers without rights just may not be the trick to fixing education.

Activism takes root early – keep your voice! Make it heard!

I Lost Myself In TechnoSpace vs. You Can’t Click a Book

12 Sep

I just finished reading Maus I & Maus II by Art Spiegelman.

As you notice from the covers, the books deal with the Holocaust. They’re graphic novels.

One of the concerns of education is getting kids to read – a popular argument states that in the faster-paced, technological world, kids have a hard time focusing long enough to get into a book. Entertainment is changing. A friend recently told me that the website StumbleUpon was recently likened to channel surfing. Because of the huge access to many links within one person’s interest area, a StumbleUpon user spends less time viewing a single website than the average Internet user. This guy claims that the average StumbleUpon user spends only 5-10 seconds on each website. That’s a lot of media, a lot of clicking, an OVERWHELMING amount of stimulus and little absorption of information.

How can the analog world compete?

Books are cumbersome. They take up physical space. AND YOU CAN LOSE THEM. They don’t have hyperlinks (even those are becoming too time-consuming) and when you flip the page, nothing pops up. And the words are static. No flashes, no bells and whistles, nothing.

I have a few solutions.

1. SING the words!  Put it to a popular tune and Sing Yourself because the good Lord knows no one else will. Good ol’ Vergil once said not to consign your words to leaves, but to sing them in your own voice and the stalwart Hildegard von Bingen rang out, “The words are the body. The music is the soul,” so burnish those rusty pipes and let loose into the world! You students will have proof that you’re crazy, but the mad always draw our attention, no?

2. Let them slam the book onto the desk once they finish it. Really. I had a professor in college do this after we finished the Iliad. It was the only book we read all semester. And guess what? Slamming that book felt gooooooooooooooooooooooooood after reaching 24 massive books only to find out the surprise ending with the Trojan Horse (i.e. Hollywood lies!).

3. DON’T try to convince them that books are better than any “fast moving, new age, newfangled piece of machinery!” A) they won’t believe you and B) they’ll want to prove you wrong and therefore not read to spite you. Just help them to realize that books are worth it. Slowly and surely. Just like the old days. Remind them of that proverbial tortoise.

4. Let them get fired up about what they hate about books. Yeah. That’s right. Let it all out. I won’t be defensive or angry. I’ll just hold it all close, even though it hurts. Then, when there’s nothing more to complain about and you start feeling comfortable, I’ll sing to you. That’s right. It’ll be like soothing a fussy baby or an overemotional child at a birthday party.

Fussy Baby.

5. Use graphic novels! I never before read Maus because, like AN OLD FOGY, I doubted the graphic novel. Make them open up the graphic novel IN CLASS. Read the first page. Heavy content, agreeable medium.

6. Deal with the heavy content. Just do it. And be clever.

And did I mention linking all the ancient with the pop-culture relevant? (Jurassic Park still counts as fairly modern, right?)

In Defense of Ms. Honey, Matilda’s Kindergarten Teacher

10 Sep

I just found a website with a post titled, “Ann Coulter accurately describes Kindergarten Teachers as “useless public sector workers” with the following comment:

“From what I see she’s dead right in this time . I went to kindergarten in the summer before first grade (1962), was taught by my soon to be first grade teacher and I hated it , but I learned by rote the alphabet , the vowels ( long and short sounds ) how to count to 100 by 1s , 10s , and 5s , and by 2 to 10 . In just a few weeks in the summer . Tell this to most teachers today and they look at me like they’re going to cry , but it worked .”

Thanks, gentilekevin. Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but the political/social/economic environment has changed a bit since 1962. My defense for the Kindergarten Teacher, whom I enormously respect:

“Actually, kindergarten teachers have an incredibly difficult job. The most crucial years of a child’s development are the years BEFORE the child enters readiness or kindergarten. If kids are at any socioeconomic disadvantages (i.e. a single mom does not have time to read her child bedtime stories), the child enters school already behind the rest of the class. It is up to the kindergarten teacher to remediate a child that has never even had formal education. If a child falls behind in kindergarten, they are more likely to be academically disadvantaged for the next thirteen years of schooling.”

Let’s not hate. Appreciate.

If I can’t convince you of it, let Ms. Honey, the ultimate Kindergarten queen.

A glass of water and some maternal love for kids from bad homes? Yes, yes, yes!

Ann Coulter “Kindergarten Teachers are Useless”

10 Sep

I hate to play into Ann Coulter’s hands, but sometimes I just can’t help decrying her awful, awful soul.

Commentator: “I don’t want to say that kindergarten teachers are useless. I don’t.”

Ann Coulter: “Yeah, well, I will.”

Fox News gives her the spotlight once again:

Click to watch the video.

OR watch it HERE: http://crooksandliars.com/john-amato/ann-coulter-attacks-kindergarten-teache

Down with Bipartisan Labeling (or, Use Your Goddamn Brain)

10 Sep

Let’s read some positive news. I had a teacher in high school who once said, “You have those on the far left. You have those on the far right. Somewhere in the middle, the gray area, is the truth.” I re-read this sentiment while reading a editorial on the Missouri law that tried to ban teachers from using social media to connect with their students:

“It’s time that Democrats, Republicans, teachers, charter school supporters, superintendents, urbanites and suburbanites and others who care about educating our next generation take a step back and refocus on lessons in communication from our early school days.

Talk nice. Take turns. Listen. Share. Work together.”

That’s right. Bipartisan labeling and side-taking is absolutely ridiculous. Think about the issues. Think about the ideas. Use your head and make an intelligent decision, free from the chains of political names. And for the love of Pete, stop talking and LISTEN UP.
Next time I pray, it’ll be for compromise.
Also, the title’s a shout out to my good man and a great read, Mr. JD Salinger (check him out HERE).

Must love the rebellion when the spirit calls

Read more about the Missouri Law here: http://www.stltoday.com/news/opinion/columns/the-platform/article_70dc0b06-17af-5a97-ad91-4257bb692b06.html#ixzz1XWSTkeYe

Recent Research Suggests Gov. Rick Snyder May Be Cold-Blooded

6 Sep

Gov. Rick Snyder may be cold-blooded, recent research has revealed from a local university.

“After studying his actions in office, similarities have been identified between Snyder and a common, venomous snake found in Michigan,” says Dylan Sanders, a herpetologist with Macomb County DNR, “Perhaps the most shocking was the propensity to eat his young to support himself.”

Scientists came to this conclusion after Snyder passed House Bill 4361, which cuts taxes for business by $1.8 million and takes the firstborn from low-wage earners. Macomb County resident and Waste Management Laborer Jim Blokee still supports his vote for Snyder. “Snyder promised job creation and incentives. I trust him.”

Blokee stated that while he cannot afford to put away for his daughter’s college education, perhaps jobs would exist for her in the future. “I know there’s no guarantee,” he said, “But if I have to take a hit so Carrie can find a job down the road, then so be it.”

Sanders is still in shock from the recently released results. “The evidence certainly suggests a strong resemblance between Governor Snyder and the Eastern Massasauga. It’s uncanny.”

 

 

About House Bill 4361: http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2011/03/pro-union_demonstrators_to_pro.html

The Think Tank Behind Snyder: http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/michigan-snyder-mackinac-center

Diane Ravitch, You My Girl!

4 Sep

You just can’t say it better than Diane.

“Critics have been complaining about the public schools for the past 60 years. In the 1950s, they said that the public schools were failing, Johnny couldn’t read, and the schools were in a downward spiral. In the 1960s, we were told there was a “crisis in the classroom.” For at least the past half-century we have heard the same complaints again and again. Yes, our students’ scores on international tests are only average, but when the first such test was given in 1964, we were 12th out of 12. Our students have never been at the top on those tests.

Read the whole article and GET ENLIGHTENED!

Doubly awesome for using Norman Rockwell in her article.

Here’s the article again. I really want you to read it. http://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2011/08/16/lifestyle/features/american-schools-crisis.html