Thursday, August 03, 2006
( 7:18 AM )
Education at Risk
As the new school year approaches, I thought I'd link to a few of my favorite teacher blogs. I'm especially drawn to those who defend public education and its value in our society,and those teachers who are activists for more than just the academic lives of their students, but for the quality of our country's collective mind.
Some of my favorites:
An Old Soul
Shut Up and Teach!
From the Trenches
It being an election year, at least fall semester should be interesting for Government class. People often ask me if it's hard to keep my personal opinions out of the classroom (especially since I'm obviously so opinionated). But in fact, it's not hard at all. My goal for teaching isn't to make more little Me's - it's to teach teenagers how to think for themselves and be critical questioners and contemplators of reason. Simply presenting the facts to them is enough to make them question and then pursue the answers. Now there are some things I don't compromise on or leave open for debate. For instance, civil rights for all people, the fact that democracy won't survive without informed citizens making it work, and that people died so that we can vote, so we better do it. Things like that.
The current administration is definitely anti-science and anti-critical thinking. If they and the corporate media - that seems to care nothing about news except what will give them more commercial dollars - actually cared about the quality of our education and minds, then I truly believe the current world situation would be a LOT different. But for now it serves them better to promote unquestioning ignorance in the citizenry. Otherwise, how could they slowly strip away the provisions of the Constitution? And like I just said, the Constitution only lives if we stay awake.
A Schoolyard Blog demonstrates this very well in a funny post he put up last month:
A public school teacher was arrested today at JFK INTL Airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a set square, a slide rule and a calculator.
At a morning press conference, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.
"Al-gebra is a problem for us," Gonzales said. "They desire solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in a search of absolute value. They use secret code names like 'x' and 'y' and refer to themselves as unknowns', but we have determined they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, 'There are 3 sides to every triangle'."
When asked to comment on the arrest, President Bush said, "If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, He would have given us more fingers and toes." White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the president.