22 October 2008

Reform, Refine, Enlighten, Educate

That string of words from the previous post, well, I can't really believe I wrote it.  Oh well there it is. I believe it . . . but I do not particularly care for the way I sound in saying it. 

I don't have a grasp on how I might speak of the value of an education. We, as a nation of people, do not yet know how to have a common conversation on the value of an education.  We are in a transition about what constitutes education.  Ooook.  Even here I assume that what constitutes education is reformation, refinement, and enlightenment.  I do assume it.  And it is what my parents aspired to though this is another conversation.  But the words are on the fringe of a common conversation.

Yes we speak of political reformation all the time.  But please, pray tell, when do we speak of reformation, refinement, and enlightenment about the education one receives in the public education system. They are very old-fashioned words.
(We certainly do not speak of it about boys yet arguably boys need it most. The k-12 education of boys is failing at every social and economic strata. Girls and boys are different. What works for girls does not work for boys. We shunt boys into athletics and into the worst kind of social and cultural stereotypes.)

If one were to openly speak of reformation, refinement, and enlightenment as a cultural value students would look at their teachers as if they were from another planet.  Not that children and teenagers don't do that anyway. And many parents might look at their teachers in the same manner, or even worse, openly attack teachers.  Ooook.

Instead K-12 administrators and many parents discuss whether teachers successfully educate their students at all. Performance bonuses are all the rage; just look at experiments in Washington DC.  Teachers are vital yes but so are ideas and principles.

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