Toward a better society.....

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-08-2006
Toward a better society.....
13
Sun, 07-22-2012 - 1:48pm

I thought this was an interesting article.  Something merely talked about in politics but certainly doesn't mean it's not critical to the discussion.

snip:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/feb/20/just-society-civic-virtues

"Today, most of our political arguments revolve around welfare and freedom – increasing economic output and respecting people's rights. But a just society requires something more: reasoning together about the meaning of the good life. Whether we're arguing about financial bailouts and bankers' bonuses, or the growing gap between rich and poor, or how to contend with the environmental costs of economic growth, questions of justice are bound up with competing notions of civic virtue and the common good.

In 2008, Barack Obama tapped Americans' hunger for a public life of larger purpose and articulated a politics of moral and spiritual aspiration. During the first year of his presidency, however, he has found it difficult to translate this politics of aspiration into governance. So, as frustration with politics builds on both sides of the Atlantic, it is worth asking what a new politics of the common good might look like. Here are four possible themes:  Citizenship, sacrifice and service, The moral limits of markets, Inequality, solidarity, civic virtue, A politics of moral engagement.

If you click on the link it will further explain what each of the themes cover.  

 

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009
Sun, 07-29-2012 - 6:58am
No, he doesn't. But his "girl" friend* is very active in issues of learning and teaching in New Mexico. She does student evaluations for school districts here, the ones which are used to place children in special needs or gifted programs.

*His "girl" friend is in her 70's. He's nearly eighty.

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-08-2006
Sat, 07-28-2012 - 11:02pm

I teach in MA.  Does your friend also teach? 

An interesting read:  Is Your Child Being Taught From a Script?   http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Scripted_Teaching/

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009
Sat, 07-28-2012 - 8:21pm
I was telling a friend about the scripting of teaching. He wanted to know where you taught. If you're comfortable divulging that information, I'd be interested in knowing.

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-08-2006
Sat, 07-28-2012 - 1:29pm

Yes, whenever you hear conversations centered around teachers and degrees it usually is coming from some libertarian think tank because their belief is basically anyone who can raise testing scores can teach.  Of course, they don't talk about other things critical for educating the next generation because it purely centers around teaching to a test which is "skill" based.  Anyone can use a scripted curriculum (with fidelity-meaning not having to think) because many of these libertarian think tanks believe is it is the curriculum that is "teaching" the students and not the teacher (hence:  scripted program).  Rather pathetic and also very telling. Tragically,  it's our entire society that will pay the price. It also goes back to the question about what public education's role is in a society.  Also, another question that should be asked should be "will reading scripted programs teach all children those specific skills during a specific time period with absolute success"?  Naturally, when it suits their need, they will be the first to blame the teacher when a child fails such a scripted approach.  It is paradoxical thinking at its best and this is what teachers are now being assessed on and perhaps a means to be compensated.  Perhaps, the best teachers that can cheat the system will be the winners.  I see lots of proof that teaching to a test has brought out the worse in human behavior around the states in both charter and public schools.  Again, another tragedy which may lead us once again toward moral hazard.

"In a speech at an American Enterprise Institute forum on Wednesday, the secretary of education, Are Duncan, said state and local governments should rethink their policies of giving pay raises to teachers who have master’s degrees because evidence suggests that the degree alone does not improve student achievement. The remark was part of a speech about ways lawmakers can use current budget shortfalls to make public schools more productive. " http://chronicle.com/blogs/ticker/duncan-rewarding-teachers-for-masters-degrees-is-waste-of-money/28478

Depends what encompasses "student achievement" but that is the big elephant in the room for these people who are now trying to control education policies.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-1999
Sat, 07-28-2012 - 8:43am
Why require teachers to have a Masters degree if all they are going to do is read a script??

It's the McDonaldization of education. Ray Kroch's genius was turning the dinner business into a repeatable process that could be done by the lowest skilled worker. He no longer needed trained cooks. His processes enabled him to hire low paid, unskilled labor to create the same product over and over with the same results in thousands of restaurants across the country.

And we all can taste the difference between the McDonald's hamburger and an individually cooked burger made to order in a nicer restaurant.

So in order to create efficiency, we are sacrificing quality in education. Isn't there a Kurt Vonegut short story about his?
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009
Wed, 07-25-2012 - 10:02pm
Sorry. We used to have a regular poster here, drank tea, lived in Canada. I miss her often quirky wit.

Jabberwocka

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-08-2006
Wed, 07-25-2012 - 2:42pm

Yes, it's all about test scores and we no longer can see the forest for the trees.  

I know an excellent veteran teacher who retired early because she was told she could no longer teach by theme.  She was an award winning educator that did an incredible job educating children using a multitude of experiences across subject matters and it was taken away.  We now have cookie cutter teaching at the expense of creativity and imagination.  I can't imagine what her face would look like today if she was told to read a script.  She left in time before our new transformation into revolutionary teaching.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-08-2006
Wed, 07-25-2012 - 2:31pm

I also find this trend disturbing.  I'm not convinced that some of these rather expensive programs and the people who designed them understand anything about childhood development, nevermind, much at all about best practice.    

The primary grades piloted this new math program with some push back from teachers and parents to no avail. The program requires kindergarten children to fill in missing addends in a workbook by midyear.  Many of the children are still learning basic number skills like number identification and how to count.  Many are still in the pre-operational stage of learning and are not ready to developmentally understand missing addends.  It's illogical but yet we are required to do it.  Then you have children at the end of the year that become frustrated with math.  It's really quite tragic.  This is not a race to the top.

 

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Wed, 07-25-2012 - 12:49pm

It's even worse when a good teacher is squelched because she refuses to teach the script. The excellent teachers at my kids' elementary school used to complain about having less and less time to work on creative things because the volume of material the kids were tested on increased each year. Pretty soon, even the good schools find themselves using scripted lessons because it nets them higher scores on state standardized tests.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-09-2006
Wed, 07-25-2012 - 12:27pm
One of the problems, the bugbears of the whole reform effort, is the concept of "grade level". For example, I came from the era when kids were expected to know their letters by the time they entered first grade at age six, but reading instruction was started from the beginning by the first grade teacher. In my town now, kindergartners must know 200 "sight words" before they can be promoted to first grade. Yet...research tells us that developmental readiness for reading happens between the ages of four and ten, with the median age being seven (second grade)...with many visually oriented kids of normal ability (not dyslexic) becoming developmentally ready to begin reading instruction at ages 10-12. So...obviously if we're requiring five year olds to begin reading when less than half of them can actually accomplish it, three quarters of the class will not be reading "up to grade level" by the end of the year...that's many hours spent in the Resource Room and drilling to fail at a task that would have been easy if they had been allowed to wait a couple of years. Or more. One town in my former state was quite proud of its algebra curriculum that started in second grade. That's great...except that symbolic math is not accessible by many people until they undergo the brain changes associated with puberty...fifty percent of kids are algebra ready by 16...the others manage to pass at that time because so much of the grade is based on non-mastery factors like having a neatly arranged notebook and turning in (not necessarily completing) all of the homework sets. Of my adult friends, hardly any (except the science/math geeks) have fond memories or even any working knowledge of algebra or other higher math. So...in our "race to the top" with "no child left behind" (unmedicated?) we throw all our energy at core subjects, taught to children who are not developmentally ready to master them...is it a surprise that we can't not fail at it?

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