Tag Archives | Education

‘Life is Not a Multiple-Choice Test’

via The Washington Post Square Peg in a Round Hole_0565

I recently posted the resignation letter of Ron Maggiano, an award-winning social studies teacher at West Springfield High School in Fairfax County, after a 33-year teaching career — four years shy of full retirement. In the following post, Maggiano recalls his first day of teaching — and his last, and explains why he is leaving his job.

By Ron Maggiano

I will never forget that day. It was my first day as a classroom teacher. I felt a range of emotions from excitement and anticipation to abject terror. Would my students like me? Would I find a way to motivate them to do their best? What if I let them down? What if I failed as a teacher?

Fortunately, my fears were unfounded. My students loved me, I did not let them down, and I received national recognition as a master teacher. In 2005, I was awarded the Disney Teacher Award for innovation and creativity in the classroom.

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This Is A Real Science Quiz From A Creationist Elementary School

Science, American style, from Valerie Strauss in the Washington Post:

The following fourth grade science quiz for a unit called “Dinosaurs: Genesis and the Gospel” has been making the rounds on Facebook and elsewhere on the Internet, and it turns out it is real. The quiz was given at a private religious school [Blue Ridge Christian Academy] in South Carolina.

Here’s one question and correct answer:

Q) The next time someone says the earth is billions (or millions) of years old, what can you say?
A) were you there

There are religious schools around the country that teach this, including some that take students who have publicly funded vouchers. Some of these schools take students on field trips to the Creation Museum in Kentucky, which has exhibits and shows that promote creationist theory.

creationist science quiz

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Illinois Teacher In Trouble For Informing Students Of Fifth Amendment Rights Prior To Drug-Screening Survey

drug screening surveyThe things you learn in school aren’t supposed to be applicable in real life. Via the Chicago-area Daily Herald:

A Batavia High School teacher’s fans are rallying to support him as he faces possible discipline for advising students of their Constitutional rights before taking a school survey on their behavior.

John Dryden, a social studies teacher, told some of his students April 18 that they had a 5th Amendment right to not incriminate themselves by answering questions on the survey, which had each student’s name printed on it.

The survey is part of measuring how students meet the social-emotional learning standards set by the state. The school district bought the survey from a private company, Multi-Health Systems Inc.

The survey asked about drug, alcohol and tobacco use, and emotions, according to Brad Newkirk, chief academic officer. The results were to be reviewed by school officials, including social workers, counselors and psychologists.

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Is Early-Age Reading Developmentally Appropriate?

Activity_at_the_library6Marsha Lucas asks if introducing children to reading at an early age developmentally appropriate.

via Rewire Your Brain For Love:

Louise Bates Ames, PhD, a superstar in child development and the director of research at the world-renowned Gesell Institute of Child Development, stated that “a delay in reading instruction would be a preventative measure in avoiding nearly all reading failure.” Leapfrogging necessary cognitive developmental skills — and asking a young brain to do tasks for which it isn’t truly ready — is asking for trouble with learning.

The brains of young children aren’t yet developed enough to read without it costing them in the organization and “wiring” of their brain. The areas involved in language and reading aren’t fully online — and aren’t connected — until age seven or eight. If we’re teaching children to do tasks which their brains are not yet developed to do via the “normal” (and most efficient) pathways, the brain will stumble upon other, less efficient ways to accomplish the tasks — which lays down wiring in some funky ways — and can lead to later learning disabilities, including visual-processing deficits.

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Elite Boarding School’s Exam Asks Boys To Justify The Army Killing Protesters

eton collegeEton College in England has groomed teenage boys for elite positions in society for nearly 600 years. (Recent alumni include Prime Minister David Cameron and the royal princes.) The Huffington Post UK reports that the school’s scholarship exam, presumably given to our leaders of tomorrow, has raised eyebrows:

Eton College asked 13-year-old boys competing for a scholarship to pretend to be Prime Minister and justify the army shooting dead 25 protesters as a “necessary and moral” decision, it has emerged.

Tony Little, headmaster of Eton College, said the school does not favour “any particular political viewpoint”.

The question was part of an exam to win one of 14 King’s Scholarships. The school, which Prince Harry and Prince William attended, charges more than £30,000 a year in fees.

eton

 

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5 Ways We Are Isolated From Each Other And Cut Off From Our Roots

dd395-gamePredators must have knowledge about their prey if they are going to be successful hunters.  It is clear that we have been studied and our weaknesses have been exploited in an effort to exhaust us economically, physically and spiritually.  Renowned researcher, Alan Watt goes so far as to state that the perpetrators responsible for this ultimately want to destroy any sense of individuality in us whatsoever.

Regardless of who’s doing the aggression, we can see that there is a war on the individual as we are assaulted on many fronts and are losing our individuality to such an alarming degree, with such intensity and in such a rapid time, that it drastically reduces the likelihood that this is happening by accident.  It seems there are predators who are coercing us and creating an atmosphere ripe for the rotting of minds.  The identity of the predators, while crucial, is controversialhowever their actions leave scars that are less debatable and if we can agree on what those are, we can perhaps have an easier time building a consensus about what is happening in general and what we can do about it.  That said, it’s not very difficult to agree on what those scars are.  They’re in front of our faces all the time.… Read the rest

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Paradigm Shift in Education: Krishnamurti on the Educator, RAW on Ignorance, Gato on the System, and Hamming on Learning

via chycho

education-significance-life-j-krishnamurti-paperback-cover-art

The root cause of society’s ills is how we deal with education. Deep down we all know this, but for decades we have barely lifted a finger to address it. The main reason for this inaction is because most of us are ourselves products of this defective system. We have been programed for obedience, turned into self-absorbed apathetic beings that submit to authority and fear dissent.

We are bombarded with propaganda that wants us to believe in the economy. That if everyone had a job and the economy was growing at whatever rate our centralized governments had set, then all would be well. There are two problems with this mindset. First, our crony cannibalistic economic system will never reach this zenith. Second, it’s a lie; a better economy is not the solution to our woes. What is, is educating our children to become integrated beings, free of envy and materialism.

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Massive Protests Planned Against Chicago Public School Closings

Pic: Shanna Riley (CC)

Pic: Shanna Riley (CC)

Aaron Cynic writes at Diatribe Media:

While Chicago’s Mayor and other administration officials seem to believe the closing of more than 54 public schools in Chicago is a done deal, resistance to the closures is about to peak just before the school board votes on the closures. This weekend, thousands plan to march to say no to the closures for three days beginning Saturday.

Resistance to the closures however, began months ago, with several protests and hundreds of hearings where parents, students, teachers and their supporters aired their grievances and demanded their schools stay open. Mayor Rahm Emanuel touts the closures will help close the $1 billion deficit. Officials within CPS said they could save as much as $560 million by shutting the doors to neighborhood schools, shuffling students to other supposedly better performing locations. However, WBEZ reported the calculation was off by $122 million. CPS admitted its mistake in arithmetic, calling it an “honest mistake.”

Mistakes in math however, are only the tip of the iceberg.… Read the rest

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What If European History Was Told Like Native American History?

european historyAn Indigenous History of North America inverts the norm by imagining a U.S. school textbook devoted to the intricacies of indigenous societies in the Americas, with a few paragraphs covering the history of Europe:

The first immigrants to Europe arrived thousands of years ago from central Asia. Most pre-contact Europeans lived together in small villages. Because the continent was very crowded, their lives were ruled by strict hierarchies within the family and outside it to control resources. Europe was highly multi-ethnic, and most tribes were ruled by hereditary leaders who commanded the majority “commoners.” These groups were engaged in near constant warfare.

Religion infused every part of Europeans’ lives. Europeans believed in one supreme deity, a father figure, who they believed was made of three parts, and they particularly worshiped the deity’s son. They claimed that their god had given humans domination over the earth. They built elaborate temples to him and performed ceremonies in which they ate crackers and drank wine and believed it was the body and blood of their god, who would provide them with entrance into a wondrous afterlife called heaven when they died.

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West Virginia Lawmaker Proposes Requiring Science Fiction In High School

solarisThe goal is to spur interest in math and science, and encourage kids to ponder the benefits and drawbacks of emerging technologies in their own lives. Via Blastr, a fantastic antidote to the efforts of politicians to mandate religious content in classrooms:

A Republican legislator in West Virginia is proposing a bill that would require the State Board of Education to integrate science fiction literature into middle-school and high-school reading curricula. Delegate Ray Canterbury hopes that even if the bill doesn’t pass it will pressure the Board of Education to adopt science fiction on its own.

“I’m primarily interested in things where advanced technology is a key component of the storyline, both in terms of the problems that it presents and the solutions that it offers,” Canterbury said. Canterbury cites Isaac Asimov and Jules Verne as early influences in his own youth that lead him to earn a degree in mathematics.

“In Southern West Virginia, there’s a bit of a Calvinistic attitude toward life—this is how things are and they’ll never be any different,” Canterbury says.

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