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RE: Perceptions determine policies

Hello Everyone,
        No matter what your political persuasion,
don't you lament the lack in-depth understanding
of the educational process?  The schools of today
are NOT the schools that most legislators attended;
the classroom today, with all its complexities, is
vastly different than the school each of us attended.
Therein lies the possibility of empowering teaching
as an art; all of us who teach, understand the flexibility,
the mental gymnastics, the heart to teach.
        To those two men running for President, I
would enjoy saying that the accountability measures
they are proposing do NOT adequately address the
current needs of our students.  They do not adequately
address our talents as teachers.  They will not adequately
educate our youngsters.
        If there is any "good news" in this (and please
understand I am being ironic), it is that we developmental
educators will have jobs for many years whoever becomes
the President.  And it is because each of their educational
policies almost guarantees that more students will come
to us underprepared.
        What do you think?

Linda Blatt, Director
Center for Academic Excellence
Associate Professor of English
Central College
812 University
Pella, IA 50219
(641) 628-5209
Fax: (641) 628-5316
mailto:[log in to unmask]
"Formal education will earn you a living; self-education
makes you a fortune."

-----Original Message-----
From: Elizabeth Bergman [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, October 05, 2000 5:04 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Perceptions determine policies

Although some of you don't believe that this listserve is the proper medium
for this political discussion, I just want to end my day by saying that I
truly enjoyed reading today's messages about the debate and Bush's
"at-risk" comment. Some of you might want to check out a review in a late
September New Yorker called "Dumbing Down...." Like Bush, the author
laments the good old days of standards, but seems to forget that many
people were left out in the old system. Let's work toward higher standards,
but let's not do it by giving up on our neediest children.

 At 03:26 PM 10/5/2000 -0500, you wrote:
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>Whether or not George Bush is a great communicator, his philosophy of
>training and testing as a cure-all for the nation's schools is naive and
>dangerous.  He is looking backward to a time when the children of the poor
>and disenfranchised were considered a threat to democracy.  What passes for
>school now in many places is an outgrowth of that mentality, and our
>disenchantment with the results, with schools that are regimented,
>authoritarian, and just plain boring, can hardly be concealed.  Schools
>don't work for reasons that antedate the Clinton-Gore administration, and
>they can't be fixed with the same old mentality that failed in the first
>place.  Listen to John Goodlad on the subject:  "We need to completely
>redesign the schools to make them much more homelike.  Our youngsters need
>caring.  They need attention.  We need to provide education that is present
>and satisfying with lots of laughter and lots of fun... We have to put
>conditions in place for the long term and not just look for a quick fix. I'm
>not opposed to standards at all; we need them.  But then the accountability
>for this narrow concept of education turns our teachers into test
>instructors...Our schools should provide what Ted Sizer calls 'places for
>learning, places for joy'....Renewal is based on responsibility rather than
>accountability.  That's what a democracy calls for -- people who are
>responsible -- and education must prepare people to be responsible."
>The "good old days" for education have never existed for the poor.  If Gov.
>Bush really thinks that high expectations alone can cure our problems, he is
>dreaming. This philosophy surely hasn't worked in Texas, if one can measure
>commitment in terms of dollars spent.  According to the National Center for
>Education Statistics, in 1997-98, Texas was 35th in the nation in total
>expenditures per pupil and 32nd in expenditures per pupil for instruction.
>Athletics and other non-instructional budget items did better in Texas (and
>here in Louisiana) than instruction, in terms of the dollars actually
>appropriated and spent.  That is nothing to be proud of.  It shows a lack of
>caring and an unwillingness to look clearly at the issues.  If all children
>aren't being well educated in Texas, why should we believe that all children
>in the U.S. will be?     We need a president who knows the history of our
>attempts to create a great education system, who has an intimate knowledge
>of recent educational history and innovations, and who has a vision of the
>future as a corrective to the inequities and insufficiencies of the past.
>It isn't George Bush, in my view.  It is Al Gore.
>Mary Leslie
>
>"[log in to unmask]" wrote:
>
>> Your quote without context is unfair.
>> Bush is correct in saying that many students
>> are at-risk because they have not learned.
>> Too little has been expected of many of
>> our students which has led to their under-
>> achievement. Bush has it right when he
>> says that more should be expected--from
>> students and educators alike.
>>
>> Cathy Seyler
>> CPI Reading Learning Specialist
>> Palm Beach Community College
>> at Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
>> 561/625-2314   Fax 561/625-2475
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Melodye Wiens [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
>> Sent: Thursday, October 05, 2000 7:52 AM
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Subject: Perceptions determine policies
>>
>> Colleagues,
>>
>> No matter what you think of either of the presidential candidate's
>> overall performances in the October 3rd debate, I hope that Governor
>> George W. Bush's discussion about education -- and his comment about
>> "at-risk" students in particular -- caught your attention.
>>
>> In reference to "at-risk" students, Bush states, "...basically, they
>> can't learn."
>>
>> You and I both know this is inaccurate. We may hope that Governor Bush
>> really doesn't mean what he said. But suppose that he does...and suppose
>> that at some point, he suggests policies that align with that perception
>> -- either at a state or a national level. What then -- for our students,
>> for our programs, and for the field of developmental education?
>>
>> I pose this as more than a rhetorical question. My hope is that we can
>> have some healthy discussion on what we developmental educators can and
>> should do, in response to this misstatement.
>>
>> Please respond to the list. We'll compile the results and will work with
>> you to carry forth any response you feel is appropriate. There are no
>> national politics or politicians, where developmental education is
>> concerned, but we believe that our strength is in our association with
>> each other.
>>
>> Of course, your individual responses -- differing or in agreement -- are
>> welcomed. That's the way a democracy works, after all.
>>
>> Melodye Wiens and Becky Garlick
>> NADE Political Liaison Committee co-chair
>> [log in to unmask]
>> 714-669-5735
>
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