• Bridging Differences

    In Bridging Differences
    Deborah exchanges views with a different colleague, each for a month or two.  Her current correspondent is Harry Boyte, a Minnesotan (although his roots are southern). He has always been a friend and mentor, even though we come to stuff in different ways and even disagree on and off. He is a professor and an activist, a theorist and a practitioner, with a focus on democracy—beginning a long time ago when he worked with Martin Luther King. He has written or edited ten books on the topic and founded a Center on
    democracy which is now at St Augsberg College, but formerly at the University of Minnesota.  

  • Where I’ll Be

    Dec 1-3, 2016 Fall Forum Coalition of Essential Schools: Providence, Rhode Island

  • Network for Public Education

  • Good Morning Mission Hill

    For information on showings or purchasing the video Good Morning Mission Hill
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To drop out you have to first drop in

“I get so tired of reading about the “decline’ and ‘failure’ of American education. It is not true….” (Thanks Diane R and Kathy DuPois) And it’s been going on forever. Read Richard Rothstein’s classic: “The Way Things Were.’ Then weep or laugh. I think Al Shanker’s excuse was probably part of the misguided “game”. He thought that getting attention paid to the sorry state of our educational system was bound to be a good idea, regardless, he explained to me. The more attention–and thus more money– the better. Even, alas, if based on lies.

He was right that our school system has never been very good (although “compared to”?) I hope that Al would agree that he was wrong, had he lived to see where the consensus he helped create has led us. Fact-checkers never ask questions as the lie gets repeated over and over and over on behalf of each liars own agenda.

It’s harder to dislodge than create such myths–especially if the myth makers have so much more access to the media and to the power of money to spread their myths. And the traditional cry (as Rothstein documents) that “once upon a time things were better,” or “when I I was young…” seems to resonate in our culture. When I was young, in fact, most Americans were not going to high school at all. There was no high school drop-out problem because most folks didn’t yet “drop-in”. And there were no annual tests to prove anything. Enough gloom for today–which is a beautiful day up/down here in Columbia County, New York. (Another day I’ll discuss my ‘discovery’ about Up and Down.) Deb


One Response

  1. How can children respect teachers and learn when they witness constant bashing and ridicule by the media and most notably by politicians. They are constantly labeled as overpaid, too many benefits, under worked and incompetent and now we expect children to respect them?
    In order to improve education in the US we don’t need more dictates from the “education experts” (many of whom have never taught in a public school a day in their lives) but instead a change in attitude of the entire country.
    The current plethora of educational schemes will never suffice.
    We need an all out effort to popularize education like that which has been done with the NFL and rap music.
    You might say that can’t be done but I will then point to the popularization of science and engineering in the 60s. It was done well and with great results. It yielded many of today’s scientists and engineers who have catapulted us into the technological age of the twenty first century.
    Criticism, castigation and lip service will never cure the problem!
    Walt Sautter

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