Funny How Tragic School Can Be, Especially for Gifted Boys

30 04 2007

From unschooled Favorite Daughter’s “O Calvin My Calvin” today :

Through a series of murky circumstances that I characterize as the tragic misunderstanding typical of our school system and which he prefers not to talk about, he wound up in remedial classes. . .

I won’t detail the horrors endured there, but the high point of his reaction to it was being sent home with a referral reading “caused a major student uprising”. . .

He said, and I quote: “The Declaration of Independence was not written on a cocktail napkin!”

The rest of the class broke into song –
As the song reached a crescendo – “Teacher, leave them kids alone!” – the principal walked in.

“What is it now? he asked.

“I’m fighting tyranny!” Calvin proclaimed. . .

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Stop Every Kid-Hitter You Can: Teach ‘Em a Lesson!

29 04 2007

. . .and a good place to start might be to stop calling kid-hitting any kind of love or learning, and to object when others do.

Tomorrow–Monday April 30–is SpankOut 2007 and for once, this is a Snook post that Thinking Parents needn’t give much thought. It’s the Unthinking Parents, those too deeply in thrall with traditional church and school teachings, who need to start thinking. What they need to think about is how they teach all the wrong lessons by hitting — even in the exalted name of education or eternal life, much less from simple ignorance, habit or lack of a better idea.If you know any such folks, please apply any or all of these implements where they can do the most good (and don’t let up until they learn a good lesson!)

Discipline at School: National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in Schools

Religion and Discipline: Spare the Rod…Spoil the Child?

Discipline at Home: The Kindness to Children Index (by State)

As the Stophitting homepage reminds us, good old Dr. Spock WAS ahead of his time:

If we are ever to turn toward a kindlier society and a safer world, a revulsion against the physical punishment of children would be a good place to start.

– Dr. Benjamin Spock





College Name Game “Major Act of Irrationality”

29 04 2007

Snook already brought you this and this.

And JJ at Culture Kitchen was on the case last summer:

. . . here’s the blue-book exam question for our class today: If America gives a private party — or an obscenely overpriced, elite, self-congratulatory and rarified college education — and nobody comes to eat the cake, will it make a sound as it falls over of its own impressive age and weight?

Not to mention Poison Ivy commentary and the peculiar faith in winter sports as academic excellence that apparently animates Ivy admissions. Now, here’s more in our ongoing honors seminar for Thinking Parents about what is so Unthinking these days about the good intentions that pave the hellish road to academe. . .by any name. (This time it’s Yale, last time it was Harvard and Princeton.)

“Rethinking the Path to Prestige”
By PETER APPLEBOME
Sunday New York Times, April 29, 2007

. . .high school counselors and admissions experts who aren’t invested in the game say there really is a backlash building against the notions that a college’s ranking or status is a proxy for educational quality, and that teenagers should spend their high school years in a frenzy of résumé building, the better to get into the college most esteemed by guidebook editors and readers. . .
where “prestige and reputation tend to depend on how many students you reject.” Read the rest of this entry »





Can You Believe Who’s Here? Blog Tour Comes to Snook

26 04 2007

AT LAST THE BIG DAY IS HERE!

THK

And Teresa Heinz Kerry does not disappoint. 🙂
It’s a real honor to open Snook’s living room to her today, although technically we’re in the library, where MisEducation herself is glowing with ladylike excitement!

We are secretly thinking that she and Teresa could take over the world together, probably have time left over for tea and then launching a couple of ships or book tours before dinner. But Nance and me? — um, not so much. By golly though, they are letting us stay and participate as if we belonged in the mix, does it get any better than this?

Teresa is so gracious and so relaxed that she’s letting me set the tone! JJ gets the first question so of course, it has a little wordplay and political power of story served on the side.

“It’s been said that all politics is based on either hope or fear.
What are some really hopeful environmental messages you’d like to emphasize for families living and learning with children, and what are some ideas other than public school lessons and tests, for helping our own children receive such messages, and take them to heart?”

THK: I believe that within the family deep learning does take place, in one way or another. Children live what they learn and learn what they live. We have to model the behaviors we want them to embrace, and that includes taking responsibility for our surroundings and caring for our bodies, earth around us, and all creation.

First of all, we can change the status quo if we do simple things together, Read the rest of this entry »





Education Ecology Has Its Own Climate Crisis

26 04 2007

As I follow the women’s health blog tour of the wise and well-informed Teresa Heinz Kerry, I can’t get education out of my mind. More than education ABOUT the environment, I’m now pondering education AS environment — at every stop I’m wondering how healthy our ecology of “education” is, and whether we’ve acted with sufficient care and concern for the health impact of artificial learning environments, the ones in which we bind children — culturally, economically, legally — for many years of forced systemic exposure?

I am worried about the toxic effects on humans of institutional school systems.

After Abu Ghirab, a Stanford psychologist detailed how “place” can win over “person” through concepts like institutionalization, escalating dehumanization, stress and stereotyping, the seduction of boredom, the evil of inaction and much more. Sounds too much like what’s gone wrong between school and education — we’ve institutionalized thinking and learning and productive work, and lost the individuals we meant to inspire and empower in the process.

So I can’t help focusing on all the ways Thinking Parents can create healthier education environments for ourselves, for our own children and families, for our neighbors and communities. I’ve been struck at almost every stop by the connections, how the ideas and information are the same and how opening your eyes to one can open your mind to the other.

I don’t know whether lifelong environmentalists following THK’s thoughtful interviews are opening up to healthy education concepts the way I (the lifelong educator) find myself opening up to healthy environmental thinking. But I hope so! I believe it’s possible, important, perhaps critical, that we begin to understand education and environment as symbiotic.

For just one small example, homeschooling mom Meredith at Violet Voices hosted THK Wednesday and reports her very sensible caution to moms about the hundreds of individual substances choking our children’s environment, and even worse, interacting in harmful ways we can’t detect and thus can’t hope to prevent or control.

Now try reading the same response with education ecology in mind (imagine curriculum standards as chemicals, et cetera): Read the rest of this entry »





Government-Approved Worship of Witches and the Atom

25 04 2007

News that reads like the funny papers!
I wonder if Bill O’Reilly counts close to a million witches (whatever they call themselves) in his 90% of godly Americans, when he’s expounding on how religion proves our moral superiority to the rest of the world?

Hey, did you atheists out there (call yourselves what you like in private, but that is your government designation) know that you too have an officially approved government symbol?? A team mascot if not a “real” god to worship? Because of course you are religious too . . .

Witching Hour In America

Praise the Goddess and pass the magical candle — the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs has finally recognized the Wicca religion.

You’ve heard of the Wiccans, right? They’re the group perhaps 700,000 strong in this country who sometimes call themselves witches — but sometimes don’t. They believe in the power of the seasons, the Goddess of the earth, and the United States of America, which some of them even died for. Until Monday, however, none of these vets were allowed to be officially buried under the Wiccan symbol, the pentacle — a five-pointed star inside a circle.

After a 10-year fight, the VA finally relented, agreeing to add the pentacle to its list of 38 other approved religious symbols, including an atom for atheists.

Despite such blind faith in the secular power of government and its official list to define approved religions so as not to entangle itself WITH religion, our government hasn’t cleared things up for me. Read the rest of this entry »





Religious Mythology from the Revealer

24 04 2007



Military Mythology
24 April 2007
Private Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman’s brother reject Pentagon mythmaking. The Veterans Administration accepts Wiccan mythology (and why that’s good news for First Amendment types, but not good enough)