Re the article on the anti-school people:
The author is Tom Siebold and the title is Framework for Understanding the Anti-Public School Movement. The page gives an http://www. teacherprofessionalism.com/UnderstandingtheOpposition.html that doesn’t work. But if you google framework for understanding the anti-public school movement, it’ll take you to Susan Ohanian’s site where this article is featured. People like Ohanian, David Berliner, and others are fighting against this conservative juggernaut out to destroy public education in this country. What is sad, is that these anti-school people get support from well-intended Americans who want to see religion put into our schools and they are told this is the only way. Well, that’s true. I work in a religious school and they are taught according to that religion’s doctrine, which is what parents are paying for, in part. That’s fine.
But public schools, serving a variety of people, cannot do that. What will happen if the anti-school people win is that the religious people will find they are on the outs, that their children will be at the mercy of the same people who decide what medical procedures and drugs they can have. Profit is a wonderful engine of commerce, and if you believe your children should be buffeted by the winds of commerce and that your medical care should be dependent on someone’s profit, then the conservatives are for you, for sure.
What follows is the post I sent to flteach:
> [ALERT: please note the qualification in parentheses in the second to the
> last paragraph.]
> The article on learning styles William Jirafalles kindly provided the link
> to gives the impression that anyone considering learning styles around which
> to form lessons is faced with an overwhelming task based on shoddy research
> and little empirical evidence.
> What seems to be going on in this article is a critic [I am referring to
> neither the author nor the researchers he cites but to those whose
> pernicious influence has permeated discussions on public education], perhaps
> a denizen of a Neocon think tank, has put forth some bizarre, extreme
> version of an idea in order to dismiss it. We become infected with these
> distortions in the same way 24 hour cable news distorts public discourse.
> One statement: “… no one has every proved that any particular style of
> instruction simultaneously helps students who have one learning style while
> also harming students who have a different learning style.” !!!! I might
> add. What are these people talking about? No one I know who uses learning
> styles as a guide to formulating lessons would seriously consider this
> nonsense. Not that there aren’t hucksters promulgating this through
> expensive seminars, but what serious classroom teacher would think that a
> method of addressing learning styles would “harm” a student.
> Another item: “…to determine the composition of learning styles in their
> classrooms. (Are 50 percent of my students visual learners? Are 20 percent
> of them kinesthetic learners?)” That makes teachers sound stupid. What are
> they doing, making sure 20% of their lesson addresses a kinesthetic learning
> style? That’s what the enemies of public education would like you to think
> we’re doing.
> Perhaps there’s some confusion over these contending views as reported in
> the article, but what I’m getting at is that someone reading the article
> could come away with the perception that teachers all over the country are
> embracing this.
> There was a terrific book used by the local community colleges in a study
> skills class that had numerous surveys for students to take to help them
> determine their preferred manner of doing things and of learning. The
> surveys worked for me and for some other people but they didn’t
> revolutionize our lives, they were just helpful. The book did not suggest a
> visual learner shouldn’t listen to tapes!
> Of course there are those who would have the public believe that teachers
> are spending time on this sort of thing instead of teaching. All I ask you
> to do is to look around and see if you can honestly say that the things the
> think tanks devoted to destroying public ed say about us are true. Are there
> some crazies out there doing all sorts of bizarre things in class? Yes. Do
> those teachers characterize Am public ed? No.
> What would the motive be for teachers to weaken education? Is it possible
> that we have somehow employed tens of thousands of dedicated Communists or
> jihadists out to destroy America? Why would anyone be so stupid as to try to
> make lesson plans that address all these learning styles? They’re
> guidelines, meant to help us stay aware that we have a variety of learning
> preferences among us; that’s all. Just b/c some rogue admin decides the
> learning styles mantra will get his test scores up doesn’t mean that’s what
> it’s all about.
> What is the motivation for getting the public to believe we’re all a bunch
> of ninnies? Easy. To replace public schools with for-profit schools invested
> in by guess who? Yes. The members of the think tanks.
> Here’s an example of why you should not take these attacks on Am ed
> seriously – just look around you. Where are these loony, incompetent
> teachers? In your school? In your children’s schools? Probably not. It’s
> just like the teachers who declare that kids these days are this or that;
> talk them down a bit and it turns out it’s two kids in 5th period who are
> driving them nuts and the rest are normal.
> My example: a few years ago on this list, a stalwart – a great guy and
> excellent teacher with one heck of a political agenda – declared, as an
> example of how out of control multiculturalism had become, that AZ schools
> were now teaching something called Mayan math. No more silly old dead White
> male math but Mayan math.
> My friend, Brian Barabe, having taught in AZ schools for 30 years, had never
> heard of that. I, having been familiar with some radical Chicano groups in
> the 60s and 70s, had never heard of it. So Brian decided to run it down. I
> think it took him a couple of months of searching before he found a
> reference to a math teacher writing a lesson on base – base 10, base 12,
> base 20, etc. He thought that showing the students how the Mayan math system
> used a different base from ours might interest them and help them grasp the
> concept of base.
> That’s it. He taught a brief unit showing how base 20 allowed Mayans to do
> complicated calculations. But what got picked up by the think tanks is that
> schools in AZ were held captive by savage multiculturalists out to destroy
> America (why these teachers want to destroy America is never made clear – oh
> yes! they were brainwashed by multiculty leftist professors on radicalized
> campuses, the same campuses that produce all those MBAs). I’ll bet there
> were people reading this nonsense who told their colleagues – you know,
> those people out West in AZ are teaching their kids Mayan math! Let’s send
> them some vouchers.
> This is why I feel all teachers should object strongly, if not through
> unions, then through whatever means they have, to unsupported distortions
> and outright lies about public education. These anti-public education
> operatives (and I am using this article only as an example of how this kind
> of straw man finds its way into respectable journal articles like this one;
> the article itself is clearly an attempt to deal with a complex issue) set
> up straw men, telling us that teachers are doing all kinds of nutty stuff,
> and that they have the answer – privatize education. We must be skeptical of
> these operatives and realize there is an agenda that directs them rather
> than a true desire to improve public education.
> Please read the article William provided the url for
> and ask yourself if teachers you know address learning styles in this
> extreme way.