Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘teaching’

How To Improve American Education

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, February 14, 2020

It will be interesting to see if Diane Ravitch picks up on this OpEd by David Brooks of the New York Times.

America’s educational model is lacking… and severely so.

Common Core is not the answer, nor is more testing.

And charter schools – private, often for-profit enterprises that siphon away tax dollars from public schools, funneling them to the charter schools’ owners and investors – are definitely out of the question.

Following WWII, the United States Army essentially rebuilt Japan and Germany, and gave to them most marvelous gifts, which were the essential building blocks for a new and transformed educational system, government, social reforms, and national economy.

It’s worth noting that, while “in Japan, the head of the occupation, General Douglas MacArthur, broke up the zaibatsu, the big conglomerates that were blamed for supporting the Japanese militarists, and introduced a range of reforms, from a new school curriculum to a democratic constitution, that were designed to turn Japan into a peaceable democratic nation,” America has fallen into the trap Dwight David Eisenhower warned about in his Farewell Address – building an economy based upon a “military industrial complex.”

It’s not as if there are no global models in other nations which have been successful, thereby forcing America to be stuck, constantly reinventing the wheel.

But America is the ONLY nation in the world which refuses to transfer to the metric system. Even the National Institute of Standards and Technologies has written that, “The United States is now the only industrialized country in the world that does not use the metric system as its predominant system of measurement.”

To be certain, global metrics such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) which is administered to 15-year-olds every three years and “assesses the extent to which they have acquired the key knowledge and skills essential for full participation in society,” and focuses upon the core scholastic “subjects of reading, mathematics and science,” including a subject area which changes with every administration, such as “global competence,” which was included in the last survey, are important.

This critique should not be misinterpreted to demean taxpayer-funded public schools, but rather, be viewed as an internal objective criticism.

There’s little, if any, disagreement in principle that teachers should be left to teach, and to operate schools, instead of politicians – from whatever political party happens to be popular at the time. Furthermore, there’s just as little, or less, disagreement that teachers, who are our, or any society’s most influential members upon generations yet to come, should be paid significantly more than they already are. And the most disgraceful event of it all, is the macabre shadow of death which hangs over students’ and teachers’ heads, and burdens not their shoulders, but their minds and hearts, by not knowing, and wondering if at anytime they could be the next victims of a mass shooting.

What is particularly disconcerting to many observers from within, and without – regardless of their city, or state – is the abundant evidence of inequity in teaching support, which includes materials used to teach – such as textbooks, computers, and other necessary items – but also recognizes the often-horrific inequities naturally arising from those schools and districts which have more money, including physical plant conditions, even though they may be in relatively close proximity to each other.

In this era of tax-cutting, it’s difficult to imagine a school, or any government-funded endeavor to thrive with fewer resources, and reduced operational capabilities. And NO ONE wants to talk about increasing taxes, much less an even more efficient use of the existing resources which doesn’t involve fiscal reductions.

Education is forever. It is the only theft-proof thing known to humankind, and once you have it, you have it forever. Any advanced society should recognize and acknowledge that often-overlooked fact, and spare no expenses by investing not only in youth in K-12, but in technical and higher education, and continuing education for adults, as well. This speaks to the very heart of the matter of some political aspirants’ ideals for education. And, they are right.

Equally important, is a sense of public service, an inherent desire to “give back” to society of the talents, knowledge, skills and abilities one has. Of the untold numbers of people with whom I’ve ever mentioned this idea, no one, literally, no one, has ever derided it, nor said it was bad: Mandatory Public Service in much the same fashion as our Military Service Members.

Imagine the tremendous good it would do for our nation, and for the participants, if, following high school, they were to have 2, or 3 years of paid public service in some, or any capacity of their choosing, in and through which they would serve their local communities, state, or nation, and be compensated similarly as our Service Members, with wages/salary up to pay grade E-4, healthcare, housing & clothing allowances, 30 days paid vacation (leave) annually, educational benefits, and if that income was forever tax-free. Yes, FOREVER. A base income of $28,536 per annum is nothing to sneeze at, especially if all other expenses such as healthcare, housing, food, and clothing are paid for, and educational benefits are similarly guaranteed. The combined total compensation would average at least $50,000 to $60,000 annually, or even slightly more. And, it would ALL be tax-free, forever.

And to be certain, there’s always a cost – and it’s not always pecuniary. It’s up to us to decide if we are worth such an investment of time, resources, and money in ourselves. If we’re up for the challenge to better ourselves by the practice of such disciplines, but more importantly, our nation, by looking to the future of the generations yet to come.

The “finer points” of criticism of the state of public education in America could include a lack of mandatory foreign language learning, dearth of artistic/creative curricula such as visual arts, music, and dance/acting, and the money to fund it, but the intellectual and social growth which comes from the exposure to, and involvement in such programmes. (I simply couldn’t resist using the British spelling! ;-))

In short, like every coach of winning teams criticizes, encourages, and trains their athletes, so too should educators practice critique of their profession, and should be open to changes which benefit students, and educators alike – regardless from where they originate.

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nytimes.com

Opinion – This Is How Scandinavia Got Great

By David Brooks

Opinion|This Is How Scandinavia Got Great

The power of educating the whole person.

David Brooks

People admiring the annual cherry tree blossoms in Stockholm.
Credit…Jonathan Nackstrand/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Almost everybody admires the Nordic model. Countries like Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland have high economic productivity, high social equality, high social trust and high levels of personal happiness.

Progressives say it’s because they have generous welfare states. Some libertarians point out that these countries score high on nearly every measure of free market openness. Immigration restrictionists note that until recently they were ethnically homogeneous societies.

But Nordic nations were ethnically homogeneous in 1800, when they were dirt poor. Their economic growth took off just after 1870, way before their welfare states were established. What really launched the Nordic nations was generations of phenomenal educational policy.

The 19th-century Nordic elites did something we haven’t been able to do in this country recently. They realized that Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - Did they REALLY say that?, - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Science Versus Science Fiction In Alabama Education

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, May 7, 2015

I find it strangely fascinating that so many are so fearful… particularly in the South, and in Alabama especially.

Two days ago many celebrated Cinco de Mayo – the 5th of May – by eating out at Mexican-themed restaurants, quaffing a few margaritas, or by making Mexican-styled eats at home. It’s a way, in part, to acknowledge solidarity with our Mexican brothers and sisters and commemorating Mexico’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. A turning point in Mexican struggle for independence, the firefight pitted 2000 ragtag, poorly equipped Mexicans against 6000 well equipped, battle-tested French soldiers. By the time the French retreated from the all-day battle, 500 French, and 100 Mexican lives were lost.

Alabama State House, 11 South Union Street, Montgomery, Alabama

Alabama State House
11 South Union Street, Montgomery, AL

But May 5 also marks another significant event, largely unknown – and certainly unrecognized – by many, if not most.

On May 5, 1925 John T. Scopes was arrested in Tennessee for teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

It certainly seems Southerners have had it out for Science for quite some time.

Now, like hogs wallowing in mud, Alabama politicians want to meddle even more in the stinking pot of their own making by… well, here’s the news item: Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - My Hometown is the sweetest place I know, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home., - Read 'em and weep: The Daily News | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

An Encyclopedic Investment

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, March 24, 2013

The word ‘encyclopedic’ is often thought of as meaning voluminous, or containing great, or significant knowledge. However, even a casual examination of the word shows something entirely different.

In the middle of the word is ‘cyclo,’ which as we would imagine, refers to something circular, or round. Who hasn’t heard of a bi-cycle, a cycle with two wheels?

And then, there’s ‘pedia,’ and we’ve all heard of ‘pediatrics,’ the health practice concerned exclusively with children. Children, of course, need instruction and teaching.

Thus, we can Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man?, - Politics... that "dirty" little "game" that first begins in the home. | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Experience – Is it the WORST teacher, or the BEST?

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Someone once wrote that experience is the WORST teacher, because it gives a test FIRSTTHEN teaches the lesson AFTERWARD.

In some way, I rather think that correct, while – as you’ll read – in yet another perspective, it may be the best… but only if you listen.

…Read on to see if you agree!…

Posted in - Even MORE Uncategorized!, - Faith, Religion, Goodness - What is the Soul of a man? | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day…

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Wednesday, March 3, 2010

We’ve all heard it.

The adage goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Who could argue with self-sufficiency?

However, we are …Continue…

Posted in - Lost In Space: TOTALLY Discombobulated | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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