Tag Archives | school

Excerpts from three articles on education: Dorothy Sayers, Richard P. Feynman, John Taylor Gatto

via chycho

To say that our education system is broken and in need of a gargantuan overhaul is an understatement, but it will happen since it is an inevitable side effect of the liberation of data that comes with an open internet.

What form these new systems of education will take are yet to be determined: only time will tell if they will be optimized replicas of the present models, or if they will be based on a new way of teaching and thought. Either way, the overhaul is long overdue and I for one am excited to see the transformation.

Below you will find excerpts from three excellent articles on education that address some of the problems with our current systems. They are well worth the read:

1)The Lost Tools of Learning” by Dorothy Sayers: “Let us amuse ourselves by imagining that such progressive retrogression is possible.… Read the rest

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Virginia University Offers Course On Communicating With The Dead

Would you dare tamper with other realms in return for three credits? From Roanoke’s WDBJ7:

Radford University students are taking part in an independent study course that’s quite different – learning about the afterlife by reaching out to the dead.

There is a bedroom on campus that has been converted into a chamber, where students have been calling up the dead, for class credit. It’s almost always dark inside, with black drapes. Two large black sheets hang from the ceiling, and a lamp is on the floor.

“For people who are coming in here they are using an ancient ecstatic teaching that’s been used in ancient Greece and elsewhere to contact the dead,” Susan Kwilescki, a professor of religious studies.

Students built the chamber, which they call the psychomanteum, on the cheap. Ran Waide, a junior who helped build it, says the chamber works: “I’ve had a ghost encounter in here.”

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Schools Consider Taking Ownership Of Students’ Work

What a life lesson the kids will learn. The Washington Post on guidelines under consideration by the county surrounding Washington D.C.:

A proposal by the Prince George’s County Board of Education to copyright work created by staff and students for school could mean that a picture drawn by a first-grader, a lesson plan developed by a teacher or an app created by a teen would belong to the school system, not the individual. Some have questioned the legality of the proposal as it relates to students.

If the policy is approved, the county would become the only jurisdiction in the Washington region where the school board assumes ownership of work done by the school system’s staff and students.

David Rein, a lawyer and adjunct law professor who teaches intellectual property at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, said he had never heard of a local school board enacting a policy allowing it to hold the copyright for a student’s work.

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Illinois High School To Stage ‘Active Shooter Drills’ With Simulated Gunfire

At the intersection of paranoia and random violence lies high school. CBS Chicago reports:

A school shooting drill planned on Wednesday in Chicago’s northwestern suburbs has many parents upset.

According to a letter from Cary-Grove High School principal Jay Sargeant, there will be a code red drill at the school that will include somebody shooting blanks from a gun in the hallway “in an effort to provide our teachers and students some familiarity with the sound of gunfire.”

During the drill, teachers will keep students in their rooms, lock their doors, and draw their curtains. Police will sweep the building, while someone will fire blanks from a starter pistol.

School spokesman Jeff Puma said parents who have contacted the school are evenly split for and against the drill. Parent Sharon Miller said the drill is absurd, [while] Dina Coutre said, “Nowadays it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

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Arizona Republicans Propose Bill Requiring Belief In God To Graduate High School

Patheos reports on the effort to make high school a little more cult-y:

A group of Arizona politicians — all Republicans, of course — have proposed a law (House Bill 2467) requiring public high school students to recite the following oath in order to graduate:

I, _______, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; So help me God.

It’s bad enough the Republicans are demanding loyalty of the kind normally reserved for members of Congress and beyond. If this were to become a law, atheists would either not be allowed to graduate…or they would be forced to lie so they could graduate.

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The Icelandic Elf School Of Álfaskólinn

Looking to go back to school? Atlas Obscura on Álfaskólinn, an institution in Iceland specializing in the study of elves:

Some Icelanders take their belief in elves very seriously — road crews in Iceland will sometimes hire folklore experts to determine if certain boulders are homes to elves, and will divert the road around the boulder if it turns out there are little people living within it.

There’s an entire school dedicated learning about these hidden people. Located in the thoroughly modern city of Reykjavik, the school has a full curriculum of study about the 13 types of elves in Iceland. This concentration comes with a set of published textbooks with drawn depictions of these creatures for reference.

The school studies Iceland’s other supernatural flora as well, such as fairies, trolls, dwarves and gnomes, but they mainly focus on elves, because they are the most commonly believed in and “seen”.

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On Fox News, Mike Huckabee Says The Sandy Hook Massacre Was Caused By Lack Of School Prayer

For U.S. conservatives, it’s time for lawmakers to stop beating around the bush and finally put a halt to the epidemic of mass shootings — by mandating the Bible in public school. Via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a 2008 Republican presidential candidate who is now a pundit and host on Fox News did not mention guns, gun culture, or assault rifles in talking about the country’s latest mass killing, but said, “We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools. Should we be surprised that schools would become places of carnage?”

Huckabee seemed to see church-state separation as responsible for the horrors Friday at an elementary school, where 20 pupils died: “We’ve made it (school) a place where we don’t talk about eternity, life — that one day we stand before, you know holy God in judgment,” said Huckabee.

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Notorious For-Profit Prison Company Doing ‘Drug Sweeps’ Of Arizona Public School Students

Corrections Corporation of America, recently sued over its collaborating with violent gangs, is now partnering with police to conduct “lock down sweeps” in which high schoolers are locked in their classrooms while canine units search their possessions for illegal contraband. Via PR Watch:

An unsettling trend appears to be underway in Arizona: the use of private prison employees in law enforcement operations.

The state has graced national headlines in recent years as the result of its cozy relationship with the for-profit prison industry. Such controversies have included the role of private prison corporations in SB 1070 and similar anti-immigrant legislation disseminated in other states; a 2010 private prison escape that resulted in two murders and a nationwide manhunt; and a failed bid to privatize nearly the entire Arizona prison system.

And now, recent events in the central Arizona town of Casa Grande show the hand of private corrections corporations reaching into the classroom, assisting local law enforcement agencies in drug raids at public schools.

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Corporate Workfare Arrives In British Classrooms

Red Pepper explains the United Kingdom’s new “studio schools,” under which teenagers spend half their day performing menial jobs for corporate sponsors for little or no pay, with the (accurate) purpose being to prepare them for the real world:

Launched quietly in 2010, studio schools allow private businesses to run state education for 14 to 19-year-olds with learning ‘on the job’ and not in the classroom.

Almost any business can set up a studio school by paying a voluntary subscription of just £8,000 to the government. In return, the government builds and maintains a school, but the power to run the school remains firmly in the hands of private sponsors. National Express, GlaxoSmithKline, Sony, Ikea, Disney, Michelin, Virgin Media and Hilton Hotels are just some of the corporate players who have bought into the scheme.

Predictably, these sponsor firms only pay the minimum wage – and that’s only for their over-16 students.

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D.A.R.E. To Cease Teaching Middle Schoolers About The Evils Of Marijuana

Not because they realized that their efforts amount to creepy brainwashing, but because a study suggested that being warned by D.A.R.E. increases, rather than decreases, tweens’ likelihood of smoking pot. Reason writes:

D.A.R.E., the national nonprofit that has promoted “Drug Abuse Resistance Education” to elementary, middle, and high school students since the early 1980s, will all but drop anti-drug material from its curriculum for fifth and sixth grade students.

“D.A.R.E. America has determined that anti-drug material is not age-appropriate,” a state affiliate leader told Reason. “The new curriculum focuses on character development”…[and] does not bring up the subject of marijuana at all.

The curriculum change is likely part of an ongoing attempt by the organization to restore its credibility with the scientific community. In 1999, the American Psychological Association conducted a study of D.A.R.E. graduates and concluded that its curriculum was ineffective. The Government Accountability Office announced in 2003 that D.A.R.E.

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