“Academics of the right sort…”

This is a comment regarding the blog of April 27 by Karen Molenaar Terrell…

“Academics of the right sort…”.

As is often the case with specialized industries, the nomenclature either becomes overblown, impossible to understand, or descends into jargon. I, too, was appalled at the stated opposition to “Knowledge-based education”on the surface until I went further and read, “…and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.” In other words, the way I read this, because of the parenthetical defining, is that the Republican Party opposes those programs in which the actual substance of the skill programs are not what is specified by their labeling. Unfortunately, if this was the intent, the platform plank was poorly worded.

I  am not a teacher, but I am pretty intelligent, having gone to school (in Iowa)  in  the days when we were actually taught the basics…the foundations and how to think, not just memorize, regurgitate, pass the test, forget.

I do know, I too, oppose programs that teach values and beliefs as if the the schools have a monopoly on what those should be, behavior modification (for those who do not conform), and teaching to the test. OBE is a new swing of the educational pendulum. In practice, OBE generally promotes curricula (read textbook publishers) and assessment based on constructivist methods and discourages traditional education approaches based on direct instruction of facts and foundational material. HOTS is a program for a given student core with unproven beneficial results.

Twenty-five years ago we decried the state of education in CA. Twenty years ago I cried for the state of education in Texas. My granddaughter in first grade brought home a binder with specific instructions how to add pages, where to put them, how to label sections, etc. Every child in the school had one of these and was expected to abide by the “rules.” Two of my brothers are no longer in teaching because they were expected to do everything except teach.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen Molenaar Terrell
    Apr 28, 2013 @ 07:08:56

    “Two of my brothers are no longer in teaching because they were expected to do everything except teach.” Oh wow. This really saddens me, P. And I can totally relate. I am no longer in public education because all the creativity, spontaniety, inspiration, and meaningful learning were, it seemed to me, being squeezed out of teaching, and replaced with a boatload of acronyms, checklists, and scripted curriculums. I look forward to that happy day when teachers are once again allowed to do what they do best: teach.

    (I currently work as a teacher in a non-profit school – and am having a blast!)

    • pclampson
      Apr 28, 2013 @ 13:46:35

      Discipline, babysit, dress monitor, etc, etc. The state of education in this country is sad. One brother was put into a ghetto school in Detroit his FIRST year out of school. He’s good, but…! As he said, I have no training for this situation, do not relate to the students, etc. He hung on as long as he could, but…The other brother here in TX is sooooo creative, makes learning fun, but does not “conform”, so….
      When we lived in VA the students had their next years schedule in their hand when they went on summer vacation. 9th grade my son was scheduled for Latin. We moved to CA. “Latin? What? We don’t do that!” Only y watch-dogging and complaining and generally making a pest of myself, was I assured my kids got what they needed. Of, course there was a lot of parental input and education at home, which I think is necessary, but not common anymore. I think the private, non-profit schools are “it” for teachers if they really want to teach. I have a niece who does that. Okay, done with that rant…whew! 🙂
      I think Mrs. Eddy’s “Observation, invention, study, and original thought are expansive” is so self-evident to me, I’m always surprised professional academia doesn’t see it.

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