Monthly Archives: October 2013

Methinks KIPP Advocates Protest Too Much

On Children and Kindness: A Principled Rejection of “No Excuses”

radical eyes for equity

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.

—Thomas Jefferson

The Furman University spring commencement in 2008 was mostly overshadowed by two events—the speech presented by President George W. Bush and the protest and controversy surrounding that speech in the weeks leading up to and during the speech.

A concurrent controversy to Bush’s commencement address centered on the large number of faculty at the center of the protest, a protest named “We Object.” South Carolina is a traditional and deeply conservative state, and Furman tends to have a distinct contrast between the relatively conservative student body and the moderate/leaning left faculty. The Bush protest of 2008 exaggerated that divide—notably in the reaction of the Conservative Students for a Better Tomorrow (CSTB) organization and an Op-Ed in The Greenville News by two Furman professors opposing the protesting faculty.

The conservative faculty view expressed…

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Teacher Quality, Wiggins and Hattie: More Doing the Wrong Things the Right Ways

Wonderful post here. Please read…

radical eyes for equity

In a blog titled “To my critics” as a follow up to his critique of Diane Ravitch’s Reign of Errors, Grant Wiggins seeks to clarify his central arguments:

My point was merely to ask those who speak only of forces outside of our immediate control as educators to attend to what is not only in our control but can make a big difference….

Teachers and schools make a difference, a significant one. And we are better off improving teaching, learning, and schooling than anything else as educators because that’s what is in our control. Am I denying or tolerating poverty? Of course not. I decry the increased poverty and wealth inequality in this country. I vote democratic and give to liberal causes such as MoveOn and SPLC. I agree with Diane that there are nasty people and groups trying to subvert public education for their own ideologies and gain.

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The U.S. Formula for Children and the Choices We Refuse to Make

radical eyes for equity

The formula for children in the U.S. can be summed up in one word, I think: “harsh.” And the response we should have to this formula is “inexcusable.”

Let’s consider the U.S. formula for children:

  • Corporal punishment—persists in 19 states in the U.S.
  • Medication—ADHD diagnoses and medications have risen in the U.S. during the same 30-year period as the current accountability era in education.
  • Grade retention—one of the most popular forms of reading policy in the U.S. is retaining children in 3rd grade based on one high-stakes testing, despite 40 years of research about the overwhelming negative impact of grade retention.
  • Testing, more testing, and even more testing—over the past thirty years, U.S. schools have increased dramatically both the time spent testing, the time spent on test-prep, the funding spent on testing, the funding spent on test-prep materials, and the consequences of high-stakes testing.
  • Segregation by…

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Medicating ADHD in the Brave New World of High-Stakes Accountability

radical eyes for equity

Miranda: O wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in’t.

—William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act V, Scene I, ll. 203–206

—–

Utopias seem much more attainable than one may have previously thought. And we are now faced with a much more frightening thought: how do we prevent their permanent fulfillment?…Utopias are attainable. The way of life points towards them. But perhaps a new century will begin, a century in which intellectuals and the educated class will find means of preventing utopias, and we will return to a non-utopian society, which may be less perfect, but will offer more freedom.

—Nicolas Berdiaeff

My love of science fiction (SF) has its roots firmly in Marvel comic books from the 1970s and the SF novels of Arthur C. Clarke and Niven/Pournelle. When I became acquainted with what teachers called…

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On Public Education

Welcome to Family Life

I wonder what the educational system would look like in our country if everyone sent their child to a public school.  I wonder if there were no choices outside of public education if the state of education in the United States would be in a very different place.

Let me start off by saying that I believe in good schools–good private/independent schools, good parochial or religiously affiliated schools, good public schools and good public charter schools.  I am a total school geek and love researching schools of all types all over the country to discover best practices in education and to learn more about current educational trends like technology in the classroom, STEM (science, technology, engineering & math), blended learning and the Common Core.  I advocate for parent choice and love to help spread the word in my community in Los Angeles about the various options for schooling in our…

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something borrowed…

Ok, so my plan for this week was to write a series of articles about the importance of instrumental music programs in schools, but that will have to be placed on the back burner for a bit.  Today, I want to address something that, at first glance, is diametrically opposed to the common methods of teaching instrumental music performance—though I think there are commonalities involved as well.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you will have noticed by now a link to an article I just posted titled How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses, and I believe that the information there could have profound effects on the entirety of both primary and secondary education.  If you haven’t read it yet, I urge you to do so now.  I’ll wait…

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