Friday, March 9, 2012

Death of Education

I should be writing my book, but last night I saw I had downloaded a book to my Nook, eons ago, called Death of Education by Eric Olsen and I started to read it. It is in a way, eye opening and yet confirming, like John Taylor Gatto's books are.....a "I knew it, but they clarifies it" type of book you want to share WITH EVERYONE. YES EVERYONE SHOULD READ IT.

Here's some excerpts. Oh and the author is a former teacher and is bashing the system more than teachers.

I continue to go to work every day, standing up infront of students in my classroom and assigning them busy work that does little more than exercise their ability to perform skills they learned a long time ago. In short, no actual learning occurs.

Exaclty. Wow. Well, Skinner-style conditioning and a factory model of schools bla bla bla (a big chunk of my book can be inserted here) made it so that the goal of education was to perform a skill, an output. Students will _________. Outcome based education. Like Pavlov's dogs, students will regurgiatate useless facts, low-level learning, usually in the form of bubbled-in A B C D answers. And I have been guilty of assigning busy work, because it met some stupid standard, was part of the inhumnae scripted curriculum, was "research proven" to improve test scores yada yada....when all it does is mirror a slow paced lobotomy, robbing children of true in-depth thought and knowledge, passion, drive. But why? We'll get to that.

The reality is that the current culture in public schols across the United States actively discourages genuine teaching. It begins with college education departments delivering theory and practices that are ocmpletely divorced from the practical realities of the modern classroom.

Exactly! I cannot stress that enough. I was talking with my husband, discouraged since I have yet to get a job. He suggested I look outside education, I mean, my MA is in Administration, I could manage a business, workers, something. I became stoic- manage? direct? lead?  Olsen wrote something about educational admiistrators being the only self-chosen leaders, they did not move up the ladder by promotion. That got me thinking to my admin. courses, how they didn't discourage some to say, drop out of the program, they could never even lead a lemming off a cliff. Nope, everyone was passed on through. Well, they had to have taught leadership right? Ok I had a few good courses, Leadership being one of them. I actually learned tools, how to apply them, case studies and alternative know, things you will actually, gasp, need and use on the job. But so many others were just reading a text, regurgitating it, discussing it, antiquated theory. Heck even my Personnel class...I thought, wow I can learn how to manage people, resolve conflict, and with what's happening at work right now, I so need that!  Nope. We learned about collective bargaining. Not really even the ins and outs of it, but looking at districts' CB paperwork and kind of regurgitating base facts. Recall when you'd read a book in school and you got lame base level questions, "who is the main character? On page 3, paragraph 2, what happens? What time period is this set in?" Well, it was "analysis" like that. Then we had three classes based on writing our thesis. Three.

So, based solely on what I learned, could I resolve conflict at the workplace, hire and fire employees, observe and report their performance? Could I calm down an angry employee, parent, etc? Could I speak with stakeholders and get the school or workplaces needs met and impress them? No. I could....hmmm....look up the answer to a question about a contract, i.e. "how many hours am I supposed to work a day?" I could look up some ed code (which is helpful actually....but only in schools) and I could explain to you the trials and tribulations of Mexican Americans in the past, in schools. I could tell you my Myers Briggs type is INFP bordering on INTP, and I could show you a plethora of articles I read and responded to. that....what I need? No.

OH! About could go on and on about that topic. So here's Olsen again,

Thus we are left to measure success of students and teachers alike using nothing but the score itself,, produced my students with little incentive as they are forced by law to take the test, and manipulated by teaching methods designed with only one goal in mind, that of raising the scores not teaching.

Man, preach it, Olsen! I could write 300 pages about that and yet Olsen said it in one sentence. Wow. I think this needs to be posted on billboards across the nation.

More to come!!!!

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