Stephen Hawking Is a Fun Guy

23 03 2007


Q: Do you think Einstein would have done “The Simpsons”?

A: I think Einstein had a sense of fun.

Stephen Hawking in a Seattle Times interview published today

Science: How the Thinking Parent Experiences Risk

23 03 2007

Nance and I have been over at Greg Laden’s blog a few times this week because of home education, but science is the main thing there, it seems. The tagline is “Evolution: not just a theory anymore” and so I figured education and evolution together were reason enough to link his place on the Snook roll for handy visiting.

Here’s something from his front page earbox today, via Wired News: Read the rest of this entry »

There’s Been Some Homeschool Talk . . .

23 03 2007

about matters of ultimate concern (to quote Scott Somerville) again online, thanks to that wascally wabbity not-a-homeschool-blogger Chris O’Donnell — you know, the horseschooling dad and Red Sox fan? This time he found a real pip of a homeschool discussion. Nance splashed into the main pool with a cannonball here. I inched into the inviting spa waters here.

True, no one form of schooling is perfect. But this engaged, eclectic, experimental approach to parenting each child’s best possible personal education (as detailed above) comes close!

We’ve passed through similar stages in our often surprising learning together. I should probably update this pre-blog diary, now that our kindergarten daughter who wouldn’t nap because she wanted storytime all day, is turning 17 and enjoying college power of story — English, literature, theatre — so much. )

Jon Stewart and Religious Literacy

22 03 2007

New on The Revealer, published by NYU’s Center for Religion and Media —

“We Don’t Need No Education!” — Jon Stewart talks to Boston University
Religious Studies Chair Steve Prothero about religious literacy. Prothero
apparently thinks it’d be a good idea for American students, and even
American politicians.

Doesn’t this dude know we’re living in the space age? How could understanding the difference between a Sunni and a Shia possibly effect our modern world? Watch the show to find out. Or, better yet, buy the book.

Schooling As “Sincere Ignorance and Conscientious Stupidity”

22 03 2007

Isn’t it pretty much irrelevant to reform educational methods, once you ignore the real elephant in the civic classroom? Can true education of any kind exist within the framework of legal compulsion to attend and perform, or does the choice of non-choice define everything after that, limit it to mere schooling and not education?

Seems to me many points of “the moral compass” such as respect, initiative, not to mention the vaunted democratic “values of equality and individual rights” are much harder to teach captives than free citizens. It might be flat impossible. How can you “educate” kids to volunteer their own service by REQUIRING it of them? Animal trick training is far short of developing human compassion, respect, love, character and good citizenship among real live autonomous boys and girls.

Does compulsion teach any kind of tolerance other than tolerance of authority?

Read the rest of this entry »

Teach Kids Credibility Before Chutzpah

21 03 2007

Teacher performance pay is hot news here:

“Pinellas County educators recently rejected a state merit pay plan by a huge margin, saying no to millions. Here’s what they want state legislators to learn from their vote.”

SO not the point imo.

I’m more interested in what our state’s KIDS learn from their vote, indeed from everything unionized, politicized “educators” do and say and believe, and how it gets transmitted to the next generation, and the next, ad nauseum . . .including me, who as an earnest junior high school student completely idolized my teachers as “educators”, never realizing they had cast themselves in a different primary role as political muscle. My role was not star student so much as prop in the political drama (farce?)

John Taylor Gatto writes brilliantly about hidden curriculum, how stunningly effective schools are at teaching some life lessons — you know, the ones we don’t acknowledge because the cognitive dissonance would kill us if the pure shame didn’t? So I commented on the news story this morning at Nance’s test reform blog:

“Maybe the real problem with education politics is coming from the kind of student mind School invariably puts on the top of the heap and sends into the world to teach, chair education committees, etc.? If there’s truth to this, then educating our own isn’t enough, to turn it around before our whole system collapses of its own hubris.

. . .Children will listen!

How about we write some better stories into the school experience of kids now, whole new models for critical thinking, creative problem solving, collective wisdom, community action and conflict resolution — isn’t that what we claim to be teaching already? — so that when they become teachers, they will approach education as something other than ideological warfare between home and school, competing to claim the very influence they are squandering all the while . . .

Sorry Yankees but it’s SO Beautiful Here!

20 03 2007

azeleas.JPGpear-tree-close-up.JPGSpring is bustin’ out all over and Favorite Daughter barely scratched the surface beauty Laurel petalumaround the neighborhood with her SLR Nikon FE2 . . .