Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ed Beat: Un-Critical Thinking; Real "Reform"; Michigan Sell Out; Caveats; Reforms.

The Daddy-Party: Legislators in Texas have abandoned all pretense of the appearance of sanity. They have flatly legislated that "Critical Thinking Skills" should NOT be taught in Texas schools: Why?
The Texas GOP spells it out for us: critical thinking challenges fixed beliefs and undermines parental authority.Their concern is understandable. Every culture wants to pass on to its children its own values and one of the most effective ways of doing this is through parental authority. Schools help reinforce social values through indoctrination. The fear is that education designed to have students think critically undermines society by questioning the very values upon which it is based.
Were I still in the professing binness, I'd have special provisions--tests, thinking games, etc.-- for students from Texas, Louisiana and Alabama.


Long Distance: From a Seattle schools source comes this interesting piece about mis- and mal-feasance under the regime of the cryptio-fascisti running MICHIGAN schools. There is every appearance that the State School Supt has acted officially to endorse and enrich a political ally and person fiend:
Utica (MI) has been a wealth of potential for multiple facets of education, art and culture and many of those programs have been decimated to cater to the special interest of profiteers and politicians.
The Broad trained superintendent was hired with the goal of destroying successful educational opportunities and replacing those with opportunities that will benefit private interests.  Christine Johns is one of the most highly compensated Superintendents across the state.  Carol Klenow, who hired Superintendent Johns, will directly profit by running the Oakland County Virtual Learning Academy Consortium.

Counter Examples: Meanwhile: From that historical, miasmatic educational swamp, New Jersey, there are encouraging signs:
WHAT would it really take to give students a first-rate education? Some argue that our schools are irremediably broken and that charter schools offer the only solution. The striking achievement of Union City, N.J. — bringing poor, mostly immigrant kids into the educational mainstream — argues for reinventing the public schools we have.

Then, there's this, from Canada, but still promising. Inquiry learning. What a novel idea. Have kids learn the "basics" while pursuing information/knowledge of personal interest and concern? Why, I never...
It’s one man’s vision for a new school in tune with the 21st century. Jeff Hopkins, the outgoing superintendent of the Gulf Islands school district, says there’s no school like the one he will add to Greater Victoria’s array of independent high schools: The Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry, scheduled to open on Fort Street in September.
For one thing, there won’t be any textbooks, or classrooms of same-age students facing a teacher for set periods of instruction. Instead, students will pursue “personal learning plans” while attaining competency in math, history, sociology, politics and more.
There will not be a teacher telling all of the students to “turn to page 110,” Hopkins says. “Our job would be to help nudge the student into those subject areas as it relates to their inquiry.”

Sobering: A former high school educator has words of warning for the NEXT level of educators who ill have his former students.His words should be alarming.
 "For more than a decade now we have heard that the high-stakes testing obsession in K-12 education that began with the enactment of No Child Left Behind 11 years ago has resulted in high school graduates who don’t think as analytically or as broadly as they should because so much emphasis has been placed on passing standardized tests. Here, an award-winning high school teacher who just retired, Kenneth Bernstein, warns college professors what they are up against. Bernstein, who lives near Washington, D.C. serves as a peer reviewer for educational journals and publishers, and he is nationally known as the blogger “teacherken.” His e-mail address is This appeared in Academe, the journal of the American Association of University Professors."

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