Weekend Open Thread

“Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it and, above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.”

–Joseph Pulitzer

27 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    Parts in this that everyone will like, and dislike (different parts depending on your views). To Fix America’s Education Bureaucracy, We Need to Destroy It

    The organizational flaw in America’s schools is that they are too organized. Bureaucracy can’t teach. American schools have been organized “on the totally erroneous assumption,” management expert Peter Drucker observed, “that there is one right way to learn and it is the same for everyone.” We must give educators freedom to be themselves. This doesn’t mean they should be unaccountable. But they should be accountable for overall success, including, especially, success at socialization of students through a healthy school culture, not just objective test scores. This requires scrapping the current system — all of it, federal, state, and local, as well as union contracts. We must start over and rebuild an open framework in which real people can find inspiration in doing things their own way.

    • BlueCat says:

      Wasn’t it just fifteen minutes or so ago that you were all for as much standardized  widget testing as possible, no matter how many mandates, how much bureaucracy, how much funding and how much teacher time devoted to filling out forms, rather than “just teaching”, that policy required?  

      On second thought, judging from the puzzling range of views I’ve already encountered in years worth if your posts, I probably shouldn’t be confused at all. I should just accept that the mind of Dave is a kaleidoscopic mystery. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Variety being the spice of life, etc.  

      Why get hung up on looking for boring old logical continuity? And there is, after all, a certain consistency to the level of extremity that seems to appeal to you.  A case can be made for a certain similarity between all widgets and all creative, do your own thing in terms of enthusiasm for a high degree of black and whiteness.

      Have a very Happy  Easter, Dave. Really.  

      • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

        I don’t limit myself to posting items I agree with. I post items that I think bring up interesting arguments on a topic. I’ve posted links to articles on how to fix K-12 that I disagree with, but I think make reasoned arguments.

        So please don’t assume that because I post an article that I agree with it. In fact I like to read well-reasoned articles that take a view that differs from mine – that’s one of the best ways to learn more.

        As to what we should do with K-12, I’m open to anything that will improve them. So the only approaches I’m opposed to is no change and to approaches that have consistently failed when tried.

        • BlueCat says:

          My bad. So I guess I should assume you haven’t changed your mind about the widgets method, with increasingly bigger chunks of time and funding spent on ever more micro-mandates, frequent testing, the reporting and compliance paperwork connected with all the mandates and testing, and less time and funding spent on “just” teaching and learning.  You were very keen on that in the last thread devoted to the subject, as I recall.  You are simply presenting an extremely anti-widget view, with which you don’t agree at all, as a matter of interest. Got it. Now it all makes sense.

          I’m sure MADCO is just presenting the  Onion article in the same spirit.  Isn’t that right MADCO?

          Happy Easter 🙂 and

          my most abject apologies 🙁

          • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

            In looking for what will improve our schools, I think we should keep an open mind and look at various alternatives put forward. Do you think we should not do that?

            So yes, I regularly post links to articles I disagree with because I think it is worth listening to the point of view in the article. And if these opposing viewpoints make credible arguments, then I take that into account. Being open minded includes actively looking at opposing viewpoints.

            And no I’m not in favor of “ever more micro-mandates, frequent testing, the reporting and compliance paperwork connected with all the mandates and testing.” What I am in favor of is effectively measuring if a teacher and a school is doing a good job.

            • dwyer says:

              Have you ever heard of the “Heisenberg Principle?”

              Does it apply here?  Why or why not?  Explain.

              • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

                So yes I have a passing knowledge of the Heisenberg Principle 🙂

                And if you generalize it as the act of observing something affects it, yep that holds for just about everything. When measuring how productive people are (including I assume teachers), generally the act of measuring itself leads to a slight increase in productivity.

                • BlueCat says:

                  and students as the widgets they produce. If that was a good model, I don’t think countries such as Finland, among many others, would be having so much more success than we are with models that really don’t seem so completely widget oriented.  

                  Kind of seems to me that we’ve been attempting to reinvent the wheel every few years with a new educational theory du jour, mainly based on nothing empirical, with little progress to show for it in terms of being competitive internationally.  

                  Maybe it would be a better idea to look at models used in those successful educating countries and adapt some of their methods to our culture. The results probably couldn’t be much worse than those that were yielded by the whole silly self esteem movement (smiley faces and stars for everyone for anything!) and the past several new versions of “new math”, particularly the ones in which correct answers are considered almost irrelevant.

                  Nice how you got in the part about physics being only one of your degrees, though.  

                  Happy Easter 🙂

                  • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

                    I think education has to be tailored to each student and a production model will fail. I think that is part of our problem, a lot of our K-12 system is from the 50’s when they were trying to produce interchangeable workers. And that isn’t what we need today.

                    I also agree that we should be looking at every system that works well and figuring out how to duplicate that success.

                    As to the “one of” phrase, it would have been inaccurate to say “my degree is in.” but I’m open to suggestions for better phrasing.

                    • BlueCat says:

                      No suggestions. Just tweaking you about managing to include the fact that you have multiple degrees. Hope you had a nice Easter:).

                • dwyer says:

                  That refers to a psychological experiment and it found that the very act of being observed or participating in the project had a positive impact on production.

                  The Heisenberg Principle does not predict human behavior; it does state that the act of observation changes that which is being observed, it does not say in what direction.

                  What we can take from the Heisenberg Principle is that it is very difficult  to measure objectively.

                  • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

                    We choose to go…not because [it is] easy, but because [it is] hard

                    Yep very difficult. But in this case well worth the effort.

                    • RedGreenRedGreen says:

                      [I] choose to … [pat myself on the back]…not because [anyone {but my immediate family (and not even them all that often)} cares], but because [it is] … very difficult. But in this case well worth the effort.

                    • sxp151 says:

                      this quote proves he’d support my plan to send all teachers to the moon. One of my degrees tells me that students learn six times as much on the moon.

                    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

                      And more often than not, I would have to agree with your points. That’s not to say I was often thrilled, but I did appreciate what I learned from it.

                      But recently it’s like you’re competing with SXP for the snarkiest change the subject comment. I much prefer the old RedGreen.

                    • sxp151 says:

                      You either repeat your initial post and ignore all criticisms, or admit you were wrong and then the next day repeat your initial post and ignore all criticisms.

                      Much more satisfying to just tease you.

                    • dwyer says:

                      …not about destroying teachers’ careers and using children as guinea pigs.  There is a difference between brave men VOLUNTEERING for a risky mission and little third graders losing their teachers and internalizing the reason as that they, the third graders were “bad” or “failures.”

                      People are NOT software mistakes.  You don’t disregard a kid because you want to do a new “upgrade.”

                      By the by, JKF was my president and I VOLUNTEERED for the Peace Corps because of him….those of us who were fortunate enough to be adults during his Presidency don’t like his quotes being misused….to support a personal agenda….particularly when it is a lousy personal agenda.

    • I don’t remember exactly when, but it was over the Finnish example of excellence in education. Your question was something like, Ok, we know it works, but how do they do it?

      Your post today answers your question:

      We must give educators freedom to be themselves.

      The Finns have turned their system over to the educators. Finns fund the system (universal), respect the educators, back the educators, then stay the hell out of the way. No know-it-all governors, mayors, outside experts, and busybody, crazyassed boards second guessing everything. It’s not that difficult once we start trusting folks educated in and dedicated to a particular profession to actually know what they’re doing and try to do the right thing. And if we don’t have extraneous political agendas.

      American public education isn’t broken. It’s been underfunded, overmandated and politicized. It’s the families, communities, local economies and political support systems that are broken.

      Free teachers (dozen exclamation points).

  2. Sir RobinSir Robin says:

    I personally have serious concerns across a wide range of justice issues in the U.S. From gun laws in Florida and elswhere, to the unequal application of the law, to private prison industries, we’re seeing basic erosions fairness and justice.

    But who can forget the virulent anti-“activist judges” rhetoric from the Republicans just a short tie ago-dueing the GWB reign?

    h/t for video at ThinkProgress

  3. Say Hey Kid says:

    My prediction is that Mike Coffman will have raised more funds in the first quarter of 2012 than Shaffer, Miklosi and Sal Pace combined.  I also think Scott Tipton will turn in strong numbers.  

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