(Click on the title to read the full post) We are frequently reminded by talking heads and newsfeeds that words do matter, and when people lack an understanding of meaning, nuance and context, words can be wielded as weapons to manipulate and delude or can unintentionally be misused in ways that can send the international community—or a spouse/partner—into turmoil. I was awakened this morning by my literary conscience asking me: If words do matter, why have I neglected to explain the origin of the title of my blog: Education and Freedom?
Human systems also follow the Second Law of Thermodynamics—not scientifically but conceptually. Families, classrooms, schools, communities and nations move in the direction of disorder and termination without the input of energy.
(Click on title to read the entire post.) The single greatest challenge to contemporary society, in my opinion, is the failure of Americans to create an effective public education system that provides every American child with a reasonable foundation of knowledge and skills needed to pursue happiness. Note that I am not suggesting America has an obligation to provide happiness, just the obligation to provide the knowledge and skills needed to pursue it. Universal Public Education is how America has attempted to provide the foundation for over a century, but it is now the canary in the American coal mine of equality, and if Conservatives—the Army of Liberty—have their way, the canary will soon be breathing its last breath.
This post continues the theme of an earlier post and is a response to "Make Public Education a Market Economy—Not a Socialist One" by Gary Wolfram, a professor at Hillsdale College, a small Christian institution that is a significant beneficiary of the largess of the DeVos Family. (Click on title to access the full post)
As long as the current emphasis on “my side winning” exists, compromise will be impossible. When it comes to education, we should not be concerned about whether one side or the other is winning. We should be concerned about whether or not our American way of life is winning, a way of life that values both equality and liberty and uses the goodwill of fraternity to find a balance within the contradiction with which most Americans can live. (Click on the title to read the entire post.)
(Click on the title to view the entire post) In 1787 France and in 1917 Russia, the poor were very, very poor; the rich were very, very rich. The response to these examples of gross inequality was aptly described by Jean-Jacques Rousseau: When the people shall have nothing more to eat, they will eat the rich, which, metaphorically, is what The People did. While I have a citizen’s concern about the inevitability of the poor taking to the streets in American’s poorest urban neighborhoods with devastating results, my focus of this blog is Education. Just as a canary’s death from carbon monoxide once warned miners of impending doom, American urban public school systems are canaries now dying from the poisonous vapors of economic inequality.
For many years, I struggled to understand why normal four-year-olds who are eager to learn ... become fifth graders who are either emotionally disengaged from learning, or are students who appear to be motivated solely by rewards. I encountered these fifth graders everywhere I went, and as a secondary teacher, virtually all of my students were these ubiquitous fifth-graders grown up. (Click on the title for the full post.)