A Model of Progressive Education

Is anyone in public education championing progressive reform today? Are local school boards and superintendents working to only improve Academic Performance Index scores and Adequate Yearly Progress goals at the expense of gutting classrooms from meaningful intellectual inquiry? I learned last week that there is still tremendous passion for progressive reform in Santa Clara County for our public schools. For that I am grateful and reinvigorated.

It was an honor last Wednesday to be invited to MC an event that featured a passionate advocate for progressive changes in the landscape of public education. The Center For Reaching and Teaching the Whole Child at San Jose State University was one of many sponsors of the sold-out event. Over 1,100 parents, teachers, and students packed the gymnasium at Cupertino High School to listen to a national leader in progressive reform in public education, Alfie Kohn.

Mr. Kohn is one of the leading figures in American progressive education today. He has appeared a few times on the Oprah show, has written several books and articles about progressive education and lectures throughout North America on the need to create classrooms where students are excited once again about learning. He makes an impassioned plea for learning for its intrinsic value, not grades, points or pizzas.

Kohn ranted about the urgent need for change in the way we are doing business in schools. I think he would agree with me that school accountability to the expenditure of public funds is a very good thing. Yet NCLB accountability where too many students sit passively while information is poured into the brain for their performance on a standardized test is a bad thing, ultimately for children and America. Our innovation in the 20th century was nurtured in our classrooms that valued thinking, experimentation, creative writing, problem solving, community involvement, etc.

In California and across America we are divesting in our public schools. This disinvestment is tragic for our children and America’s future. The richest country on the planet should be able to provide each and every student with a fullness of curriculum that includes the arts, world languages, music, dance and physical education in an intellectually challenging environment.  Students must have many project-based learning experiences to incorporate real-life skills they are learning in English, math, science and history-social science.

The Santa Clara County Board of Education this month has approved a new Charter High School called Communitas that promises to have a rich project-based, rigorous high school curriculum. These innovative models of instruction now appear to be the sole propriety of the charter school world. Why? Where are the advocates for progressive education and learning in the traditional public school world?

Santa Clara County needs more public schools like the City and Country School of New York City, founded by a progressive educator, Caroline Pratt, in 1924.  Ms. Pratt believed that the more children actively participate in their learning, the more they get out of it. The City and Country School of New York is a place that fosters the intellectual curiosity of each and every learner. Their website states: “The C&C classroom serves as an ideal place for children to explore, experiment, fail, learn and grow, both as individuals and as a group.”

Should that not be the goal of more classrooms in Silicon Valley, the home for technological innovation such as the iPad?

A huge thank you to Julie Streete, Masters in Education candidate at SJSU, who single-handedly worked for two months to bring Alfie Kohn to Silicon Valley for the second time in 2 years. She tells me she filled the Event Center at SJSU the first time he came in 2010.

The time for action is now. The citizens of this great community are ready, willing and able to lead this important effort. I will work with them to focus our energy on a reachable goal, until then I urge school boards and superintendents to explore progressive models of public education. Like Mr. Kohn, together lets lead boldly and with courage for the sake of our children.

Joseph Di Salvo is a member of the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s Board of Trustees. He is a San Jose native. His columns reflect his personal opinion.

64 Comments

  1. > The richest country on the planet should be able to provide each and every student with a fullness of curriculum that includes the arts, world languages, music, dance and physical education in an intellectually challenging environment.

    What?!!

    What has education in Brunei or Saudi Arabia got to do with the U.S. public education system?

    Memo to Joe:

    If you are laboring under the illusion that the U.S. is “[T]he richest country on the planet” you are yet again demonstrating the profound ignorance and fatuity of the public education cult.

    The U.S. has a $1.5 TRILLION federal budget deficit, BILLIONS and BILLIONS in state and local government budget deficits, a $10 TRILLION plus accumulated national debt, and upwards of FIFTY TRILLION DOLLARS of unfunded liabilities—meaning retirement benefits of current and past educators that are never going to be paid.

    WE’RE BROKE!!!!

    The per capita share for each American citizen in all of his accumulated debt is in the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS.

    No other country in the world, no other society in history has ever run up the debt burden that is now crushing the American poplulation.

    We are NOT “the richest country on the planet”.

    We are the POOREST, MOST DEBT RIDDEN country in the solar system, and very likely the entire galaxy.

    There is no more money for “progressive models of education”, let alone regressive, ingressive, or egressive models.

  2. Q.  “Where are the advocates for progressive education and learning in the traditional public school world?”

    A.  Try asking the boss of any teachers union.

  3. Once again, Mr. DiSalvo has illustrated how the word ‘progressive’ has become a pejorative of late. I must be a masochist to keep reading his posts as they invariably make me want to bash my head against a wall. Time and again, he points to either ‘progressive education’ or technology as some sort of a panacea for what ails our education systems.

    From what I can tell, there are two things that are wrong with public education today. The first is that public schools have a de facto monopoly on the education of K-12 students. Unfortunately, right now, a quality private education is a bit like shopping at a boutique store – it’s largely reserved for the well-to-do so the best there is in education is largely reserved for those who can afford it. I don’t solely refer to private schools, but also those public schools in more affluent neighborhoods. The sad fact is that your average school doesn’t have to compete for tax dollars or attendance. And, for those parents who choose which schools their child attends, the differences are a bit like deciding if you are going to shop at Target or Kohl’s – as much to do with geography as any meaningful difference in the shopping experience. Want to really reform the education system? I propose the following changes:

    1. End tenure. Just as public schools have a defacto monopoly on k-12 education, so do tenured teachers have an effective monopoly on their classrooms. I have to believe that tenure protects more under-performing teachers than Mr. DiSalvo would like to admit.
    2. Take a back to basics approach for the curriculum: reading, writing, math, science, history, and, later, social studies.
    3. Offer school vouchers to any family regardless of income level or special needs. Vouchers won’t entirely offset the cost of sending a child to a private school, but it would go very far in leveling the field. And, if schools actually had to compete with the ‘private sector’, you might see competition-driven improvements.

    The second is that classrooms are often stuck having to teach to the poorest performing students, leaving the more advanced, the precocious or the gifted to either fend for themselves or simply be bored.

    • > 1. End tenure.
      2. Take a back to basics approach for the curriculum: reading, writing, math, science, history, and, later, social studies.
      3. Offer school vouchers to any family regardless of income level or special needs.

      David:

      You really know how to offend progressive educator union members.

  4. You want progressive?  How’s this for progressive – http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/indiana-gop-pushes-ahead-with-proposal-that-would-be-nations-broadest-use-of-school-vouchers/2011/03/29/AFTiHxwB_story.html

    Schools in Indiana are heating up the voucher program – letting people across the board have Choice (interesting word – choice) in their education.  Of course the intent is to get “more bang for the buck” ‘60s public sector hip slang – but of course vehemently opposed by teacher unions – What? TOO progressive you say – thought we couldn’t get enough progressive

  5. I agree that there is no money for education let alone anything else, and that is exactly why we should rid ourselves of what we deem traditional education.  Walter Haney, George Madaus, and Robert Lyons estimated the nation’s taxpayers are devoting as much as $20 billion annually in direct payments to testing companies and indirect expenditures of time and resources devoted to taking tests and teaching to tests.  Let’s save ourselves $20 billion dollars a year by moving to progressive education.

    • > Let’s save ourselves $20 billion dollars a year by moving to progressive education.

      Julie:

      “Progressive education” is what we have today.

      – Putting condoms on cucumbers
      – Cinco de Mayo, but no American flags
      – The Joe DiSalvos of the world in charge

      What could be more wonderful?

      Since we have already moved to progressive education, we have presumably saved $20 billion.

      Do you know what happened to it?

  6. I love the school voucher idea. God forbid that public schools should have to compete with private schools for tax dollars. God forbid that we should finally begin to recognize the deleterious effect on public education that its virtual monopoly has created.

    • If only the other David Sanchez had your kind of common sense. But then if he DID have any common sense he wouldn’t be the president of the teachers association. Kind of a Catch-22 isn’t it?

    • I agree, the school voucher idea would give equal opportunity and possibly more options for children who would not normally receive them. We need to give all children equal attention not just those who can afford it.

  7. Prior to bothering with “reforming”, lets assure that student know how to behave in a public setting so the teachers can actually teach. Also non-english speakers should not be permitted into a mainstream classroom until they show sufficient english skills to be there.

    • Here’s another ‘progressive’ idea: make it easier to get rid of the malcontents and disruptive influences. I submit that creating a three strikes or five strikes rule which allows the public school system to permanently expel a child recidivist (too many expulsions or arrests) would do much for making public schools a better learning environment for those who actually want to learn.

  8. In education there have been many ‘overlooked’ models to reform . The system we have now with NCLB is ‘regressive’  as opposite to ‘progressive’ .
    Another model that sure to cause ‘controversy’ is the Montessori method .Parents do claim it works .

    All should read this .The Little School That Could

    Tough Economic Times Created the Rationale for One School

    Go to this URL:

    http://www.nais.org/publications/ismagazinearticle.cfm?ItemNumber=151845

  9. I read that there are tens of thousands of “helicopter moms” in California. They fly their kids in for the school year and they stay with relatives. This is from all over the world. (Korea, etc)  The taxpayers cannot support the entire world.

    Then the child goes on (as she is now a “resident”) to college at taxpayer expense.

    • > The taxpayers cannot support the entire world.

      Psssst.  Maria:

      Joe doesn’t know this.  Let’s keep it quiet for awhile and then surprise him.

      • > Joe doesn’t know this.  Let’s keep it quiet for awhile and then surprise him.

        OK.  But who’s going to tell him?

        And what happens if he doesn’t take it well?

  10. “Students must have many project-based learning experiences to incorporate real-life skills they are learning in English, math, science and history-social science.” I agree with this statement.  I have found that I retain information for a longer period of time when I am an active participant in projects that I can see real life value in.  I know it is difficult to incorporate many of these opportunities in classrooms today with such a focus on test scores, but I do feel it is important to try to connect content to real life as often as possible.

    • I completely agree with Laura.  I too learn the best when teachers incorporate “hands-on” experiences.  I have noticed the same with my kindergarten class that I teach.  Not only are the students more interested and engaged when we use project-based learning, but they also retain more information.

    • I agree and believe that hands-on learning should be incorporated as often as possible in students’ learning.  Personally, I always had an easier time learning information and retaining it when I actively participated in the lesson.  Furthermore, I feel that you are able to develop a more conceptualized understanding.  Additionally, social learning should be incorporated, such as through discussions, since you are better able to develop a sense of knowledge from others as well as having to provide reasoning behind your thoughts.  Overall, I think that students would benefit more from being actively engaged in their learning rather than being passive recipients of information.

    • I agree that students should have the opportunity to receive a rich education that involved hands on project. I, myself, also find that when I do hands on activities I retain the infomation learned for a longer period of time. Kohn addressed several point that changed my point of view. He mentioned that grades should not be part of the curriculum instead having hands on project that are meaningful can leave a student with more knowledge. Throughout my life I was taught that maintaining good grades was essential to go on to a four year college. Up until this day maintaining good grades is essential so where can we start the progressive reform?

    • Thanks Laura V. for bringing this up. I totally agree with you that hands-on experience and activities benefit students’ learning so much. In those classes that I’ve been to, however, I can rarely see this exist, especially during math or science lessons. In one of those classes, the teacher actually has a lot of math manipulatives in her storage, but she rarely used them. Most of the time she just demonstrates math lessons with numbers written on the white board. I think it inhibits the students’ learning and cannot develop the best of their potentials.

  11. Di Salvo, you state that0

    “In California and across America we are divesting in our public schools. This disinvestment is tragic for our children and America’s future. The richest country on the planet should be able to provide each and every student with a fullness of curriculum that includes the arts, world languages, music, dance and physical education in an intellectually challenging environment.”

    It’s funny that you say this because you’re right. The United States has so much money, and yet, we fail to provide a good education for our children. Where is all our money going to? What is the government spending on? Jails, war, weapons.. where is education?

    • I feel the same way. Whenever there is a budget crisis, one of the budgets that seems to always get cut is education. So even though we have all this money, it is not being distributed the way we might seem fit.

      • Agree with both of you, money is being spent on other things except education. The first thing the government wants to cut is funding for education, then they wonder why students are not performing at a higher level and why US is lagging behind other countries in education. We focus too much on War and power and little on the important foundations of our economy and society, which is education. It’s sad, but its the truth. US worries more about pried and being number one as a global power, than educating young people and improving the education of children that need education to get out of poverty line and move into the middle class society of the US.

    • I also feel the same way as Jonathan, Stephanie B, and Jamie Z when they state that when there is a budget crisis that education is the first one to lose money. I do not know why the money is being cut form education when the “big” focus is on getting the children to the same level thanks to NCLB. If we have all this money and we are not giving it to education, so why do we have such a high emphasis on it then? I believe that if we can distribute the money in a way that all the areas get an even amount or an amount that they actually need then I believe we can get education to the level it needs to be.

    • I couldn’t agree more. Every day I ask myself or people around me where does all of our tax money go to. I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that education gets put on the back burner, yet we expect our youth to stay out of trouble and attend college. How can we expect them to enjoy school when there are cuts left and right, therefore, students are only getting the bare minimum. I agree with Stephanie too, the money isn’t being distributed the way we seem fit, and it’s just not fair.

  12. > The United States has so much money, and yet, we fail to provide a good education for our children.

    You must have gone to the same accounting school that Joe went to.

    Why don’t you invite Joe to lunch at a fancy, expensive restaurant.

    And when the check comes, you can say: “Rich people somewhere else are going to pay for this.”

    I must add that this approach has never worked for me, but “progressives” seem to think that this is the way the world ought to work.

    • of course. you can’t just be naive and say “ok, rich people and rich country, go pay for everything and fix this problem”. you gotta be either super naive or just dumb to think that way. What was meant by my statement is that with so much money available, it’s shocking how the money is not used properly. but then again, what is “proper” use of the money and who gets to decide that spending on schools is more important than spending on jails and war?

      • > you can’t just be naive and say “ok, rich people and rich country, go pay for everything and fix this problem”. you gotta be either super naive or just dumb to think that way.

        But that’s the essence of what Joe has been saying.

        And you agreed with him.

        Haven’t you been paying attention?

  13. I attended Alfie Kohn’s presentation and I was very impressed with the progressive education approach and ideas that were presented.  His presentation was passionate and research based. With that said, the big question is how does one begin to change the public school education system that is set in stone with tenured staff that may feel comfortable with how things are run.  The newly trained teachers that may have new progressive ideas are the first to go with the budget shortfalls. Does the public education system need an overhaul or do we slowly chip away with small changes that eventually make a difference?  Government funding is crucial to the survival of public school funding, yet they are the same entity that enforces testing in schools. Where should we focus our efforts to make the most positive impact?

  14. > With that said, the big question is how does one begin to change the public school education system that is set in stone with tenured staff that may feel comfortable with how things are run.

    Teacher tenure IS a “progressive education” idea.

    > The newly trained teachers that may have new progressive ideas are the first to go with the budget shortfalls.

    Teacher union work rules are “progressive education” ideas.

    > Government funding is crucial to the survival of public school funding, yet they are the same entity that enforces testing in schools.

    Government control and operation of government funded schools is the essence of a “progressive education”.

    > Where should we focus our efforts to make the most positive impact?

    Step 1: Smack yourself in the forehead and tell yourself “I’ve been brainwashed with all of this ‘progressive education’ claptrap.”

    Stap 2: Smash the government-politician-union monopoly by fighting for school choice, school vouchers, and tuition tax credits.

    Now is the time to come over from the dark side.

    • This is classic deflection. You cannot find issues with the real definition of progressive education. Instead you are attempting to redefine the meaning of progressive education in order to invent issues against which you can argue. To be specific, progressive education is:-

      – teaching students in different styles, rather than simply lecturing facts to them from the front of the classroom
      – teaching students to think for themselves, rather than just regurgitating facts
      – using assessment to understand how well students are developing rather than a mechanism to determine how much funding schools should receive

      Progressive education has nothing to do with:-
      – Teacher unions
      – Teacher tenure
      – Standardized testing
      – Teacher union work rules
      or any of the other points you raise above.

      Now if you’d like to enter a dialog based on the real meaning of Progressive Education, rather than your redefined version, I’d be delighted to have the conversation.

      • > Now if you’d like to enter a dialog based on the real meaning of Progressive Education, rather than your redefined version, I’d be delighted to have the conversation.

        OK.  Dialog.

        The essential significance of “progressive education” is:

        – Teacher unions
        – Teacher tenure
        – NO Standardized testing
        – Teacher union work rules
        – Mammoth suffocating bureaucracies with lots and lots of “programs”

        Plus you can add:

        – reducing the influence of parents on a child’s social, cultural, moral and POLITICAL development to ZERO.

        The Big Education Unions and the Big Government ideologues have tried to create the illusion that “progressive education” is anything that is warm, cuddly, and fuzzy and makes children have “high self esteem” and teachers feel like they are really, really competent without having to work hard.

        But of course that’s buncombe.

        • A discussion about unions or parental influence is always a legitimate topic. However, it is not legitimate to wrap those topics under Progressive Education, as they have NOTHING to do with Progressive Education.

          Since you have failed to express any argument against Progressive Education, and instead want to focus on teacher unions and parental influence, I have to assume that you are supportive of progressive education, but are unhappy with the way it’s implemented. Of course, if you actually have arguments, supported by real research, against progressive education, then I’d love to hear them. Attempting to undermine Progressive Education by associating it with non-related topics simply reinforces the message that Joe and others are delivering, that Progressive Education is a valuable approach of education that we should more thoroughly endorse.

  15. Where are the progressive educators? WE are!  I think that many teachers are doing the best they can within the ‘system’ that is currently in place.  I believe we can each make a difference in little ways.  I think it’s awful that we have to teach students to be good test takers (that is what I’m seeing at the school where I am), but beyond that many teachers that I’ve worked with actually are able to be creative in their lesson planning and offer students hands-on experiences and project based lessons.  Do we need more progressive educators?  Absolutely!

    • > Do we need more progressive educators?  Absolutely!

      Gayle:

      What do you like most about progressive education?

      1. Teacher tenure?

      2. All of the wonderful and helpful administrators?

      3. Being non-judgemental about values, ethics, and morals?

      4. Paying union dues?

      5. Sending pregnant girls out for abortions without telling the parents?

    • I totally agree with you that we need more progressive educators.  We need to bring creativity and hands-on experiences to the classroom.  If we don’t, students will learn to hate school.

      • I agree as well! Being in a classroom, it has shown me that students really do need to be able to have hands on experiences.  Many of the students in the class I am in right now don’t like school, they don’t like the content and it makes me sad because I think that it could be interesting if taught in a different manner.  How is our future generation supposed to be successful if we are only teaching them material to the test?

    • “many teachers that I’ve worked with actually are able to be creative in their lesson planning and offer students hands-on experiences and project based lessons”

      Gayle, I agree with you.I have seen this in the classroom I am currently in. I see the advantage and how it helps children learn better and provide them with a concrete understanding of the concepts. But, teachers also have the pressure to finish the content before the testing, which means they are not able to do many hands on projects & activities. As you said, I agree that there are teachers out there doing the best they can in this present “system”

  16. Here’s a teachable moment:
    One of the myths of our times is that the several tendencies which characterized what is broadly termed progressive education prevailed, were fully achieved, and are now being repudiated. This sedulously cultivated myth is incomprehensible, The reality is that progressive education has never been tried on any significant scale.
    As the inescapable queries reassert themselves and the tentative proposals of the varied interpretations of progressive education are reconsidered, educators will find it necessary to utilize the insights of Dewey, Bode, Counts, and Kilpatrick.  An education which takes into account the individual, his society, and his values—an education which builds upon the soundest possible scholarship derivative from psychological, social, and philosophical foundations—is imperative in developing a curriculum appropriate for today’s children.

    • > The reality is that progressive education has never been tried on any significant scale.

      Oh, really?

      Then how do we know that this sucker’s gonna work?

      And, who are we going to experiment on?

      I know!  We could experiment on CHILDREN!!!

  17. It is important that education be exciting and engaging for our students as learning is suppose to fun.  As education stands right now learning for our students it is not fun as much of what they are learning is how to fill in bubbles.  What students really need is more hands activities to give them a chance to gain their own understanding through interaction with materials and peers.  As research has shown that students learn more when they are able to construct their own knowledge and then teach that information to their peer as this enables them to truly show they understand the material.  If our schools used more of these cooperative learning strategies our students would be more excited about school as learning would be fun and exciting.

    • I agree! Students need to have meaningful, hands-on learning experiences that allow them to demonstrate their comprehension. Without that engagement, they just aren’t interested or excited because they aren’t connected to what is being taught.

    • I agree that students need more hands-on activities and interaction with peers. Looking back to elementary and middle school, I always learned more when I was doing a hands-on activity rather then completing a worksheet or other forms of “busy work”. Hands-on activities with peers are much less tedious and more engaging for the students. Therefore, they will be more excited about the subject they are learning if they are enjoying the activities and interaction with others. Working with peers is extremely important because it gives the students a chance to express their own thoughts while also hearing from their classmates. This allows them to hear multiple views and strategies that they might not have thought of themselves. Students also learn better when they get the chance to teach others during group activities.

  18. I do agree that some changes need to occur within the public education system. They have not kept up with change and as a result students are left to suffer the consequences. If public education does not change, more and more schools will be closed and charter schools will become the next generation of public education. Maybe that should be the case if public education is not willing to take on the changes that would fix their broken system.

  19. Hands on, engaging education is definitely needed in our US education system. Many children these days are deprived of that. As teachers, we are the ones that make that happen. We need to incorporate a variety of strategies that will allow students to be at the center of their education. Students have a variety of learning styles therefore we must accommodate for that in the classroom and allow students to learn in ways that best suits their needs as well as challenge them in their learning.

  20. I had the pleasure of attending Mr. Kohn’s lecture and I would advise those posting to check out his articles before bashing his way of thinking.  We should be teaching kids how to think and problem solve rather than training them like puppies to do tricks.  Give me a kid and I can teach them to pass a test fairly quickly.  Give me quality time with a child and I can expose them to ideas, experiences, and opportunities that will create a learner and a thinker!

    • > Give me a kid and I can teach them to pass a test fairly quickly.  Give me quality time with a child and I can expose them to ideas, experiences, and opportunities that will create a learner and a thinker!

      Did it ever occur to you, Jennifer, that it is the institution of top-down, one-size-fits-all, credentialed-tenured-slacker-union-teacher public education that PREVENTS the type of education you envision for turning children into learners and thinkers?

      This type of education DOES exist.  It just doesn’t exist in the public education system, for a million bureaucratic and political reasons.

      And if you don’t understand why education that turns “children into learners and thinkers” CAN’T occur in Joe DiSalvo’s bureacratized, rule-bound public education factories, you are part of the problem.

  21. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend Mr. Kohn’s lecture, but I am familiar with his teachings.  He has a lot of really great ideas and solutions pertaining to education and the changes that need to be made.  The problem is, society is not working toward a common goal by providing an education that benefits students within all subject areas.  Each group has their own ideas of how education needs to be carried out and politics are getting in the way of quality learning!

    • > He has a lot of really great ideas and solutions pertaining to education and the changes that need to be made.

      What a coincidence!

      Teachable Moment ALSO has a lot of really great ideas and solutions.

      Maybe I should also start putting on public lectures.

      How much did Mr. Kohn charge for his lecture?  Did the school district pay any of the cost?

  22. I was disappointed that I missed Alfie Kohn. I believe the habitualized point-junky mentality runs rampant through all tiers of education; in receiving back a test, I watched as classmates chattered on about the grade. But I saw more importantly, that most of us had really learned the material and could apply it well- which is of course much more important than the test grade. Nurturing thinking and creativity, experimenting with ideas is so important to creating a critically-thinking, educated society.

  23. I agree that a push for progressive education in the bay area is needed. What I don’t understand is how that is possible when so many schools are dealing with budget cuts and the restrictions of NCLB. There is so much focus on reading and math at my current elementary school to reach the goal so they are no longer a title one school. I guess my question is how are charter schools able to do this while many public schools are not? Are charter school not tied down by the restrictions that public schools have?

  24. “The richest country on the planet should be able to provide each and every student with a fullness of curriculum that includes the arts, world languages, music, dance and physical education in an intellectually challenging environment.” I agree that a welll rounded education includes all of the above. Math, science, reading and writng are all enhanced by various facets of learning.  Children comprehend and retain information best when all of their senses are involved.

  25. >  I agree that a welll rounded education includes all of the above. Math, science, reading and writng are all enhanced by various facets of learning.  Children comprehend and retain information best when all of their senses are involved.

    So.  Are you providing this kind of education?

    If not, why not?

    Are you paid for providing a well rounded education?

    Are you personally accountable for not providing a well rounded education?

  26. Judging by the posts of Rebecca W., Sarah S., Kim P, Kajal P., Nikki R., Moammar K., Atilla H., etc. etc., there’s certainly no diversity of opinion among DiSalvo’s current crop of students.

    Ironically, it appears they’ve been taught to regurgitate the idea that it’s wrong to teach students to regurgitate the ideas that they’re taught.
    All reciting precisely the same opinion, do these students sound like ‘learners and thinkers’? Or do they more closely resemble ‘trained puppies performing tricks’?
     
    And so, the legacy of a dysfunctional, bankrupt (but progressive!) public education system is passed on to the next generation.

  27. Changes in education need to be made. It is so sad how many other subjects get left out. It is also sad that all we care about are standardized tests. Why don’t we care if the child is actually retaining the information and being able to apply it? Instead of just learning test taking skills. I see teachers trying really hard to incorporate other subjects or hands on activities in their classroom, however we need to get rid of NCLB.

  28. > Judging by the posts of Rebecca W., Sarah S., Kim P, Kajal P., Nikki R., Moammar K., Atilla H., etc. etc., there’s certainly no diversity of opinion among DiSalvo’s current crop of students.

    Galtus:

    Are you suggesting that Joe might be “papering the house” and packing the forum with his acolytes?

    I’m shocked.

    I would think that the ethics of public educators would discourage this.  It does, doesn’t it?

    Hello? Doesn’t the ethics of public educators prevent this?

    Anybody out there willing to speak in behalf of public educator ethics?

  29. When I think back on my educational experience (primarily my elementary education) I can only remember a few concrete teaching experiences. The one that sticks out to me the most was in 4th grade when I got to dress up like Abraham Lincoln and give a report on his life. It was a very meaningful experience for me. If progressive education is championing a model of hands on learning and creativity then I am all for it.

    • >  If progressive education is championing a model of hands on learning and creativity then I am all for it.

      “Progressive education” is really a made up concept.

      “Progressive” is a term of art adopted by communists and socialists when they realized that “communist” and “socialist” had a bad smell about them.  So they stopped being communists and socialists and instead became “progressives”.  They didn’t even have to change their beliefs.

  30. I agree that having, “too many students sit passively while information is poured into the brain for their performance on a standardized test is a bad thing, ultimately for children and America.”  This is not how students learn best and it is not a way to motivate students to learn.  Students should have the opportunity to experience learning through hands-on activities, active engagement, and active participation.  Students should be challenged with inquiry and discover the information for themselves as opposed to always taking notes on what the teacher tells them.  Granted, giving students these kinds of opportunities is difficult now with the way the school system is set up.  Also, I am a little confused by the statement, “the richest country on the planet should be able to provide each and every student with a fullness of curriculum that includes the arts, world languages, music, dance and physical education in an intellectually challenging environment.”  I thought our country was in debt.  Our country cannot afford to provide students with the supplies, staff members, and environmental support to provide students will these opportunities.  Money is one of the main issues behind the lack of opportunities for our students.

  31. These arguments are so bloated by preconceived notions, entrenched ideologies, and uninformed commentators as to make the whole conversation virtually pointless.  Don’t just agree or disagree.  Do something.  The system will not be changed very much by people who are unwilling to make a change in what they do daily.  Teachers, inform yourselves and know what you will do in your classrooms to fill them with vibrancy beyond what districts allow and demand.  Parents, bureaucrats, and other community leaders; allow flexibility to those who will be at the forefront of our children’s education.  Most of all, everyone, seek to inspire these students and each other to simply do more.

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