on shutting down the sausage factories and opening up some real schools!

Dr. of Thinkology

Wow! I just did the math and realized it’s now 10 full years since I left the classroom! Oh. My. Goodness.

When people ask about my career I typically tell them I’ve been a FREElance writer/speaker/consultant for, “Oh, around five years.” No deception intended, I honestly had no idea.

My fundamental goal, when I took this route in the summer of 2002, was to take my love of writing and see if I could – somehow – use my gifts to, A) Strengthen, encourage and expand the Kingdom of God, and B) Make a living.

Oh, and I really, really, really – C) – wanted to write a book and see it come to press.

Well, and as Meat Loaf once pointed out, “Now don’t be sad, ’cause two out of three ain’t bad.”

Ah, I remember it well….

TEACHER FLASHBACK: Once in a while, especially when I was a columnist for the Tampa Tribune, I have published commentary about public education. But it’s been a while.

Today, however, I can’t help but put in my two-cents worth (if you’re wondering, “Just two cents?” see “B”, above) regarding the disturbing decline in public and political understanding when it comes to the basics of what makes for a good education.

We’ve got to do something to eradicate the “sausage factory” mentality that views schools according to the industrial factory model. You know the approach. Economies of scale. Raw material in, product out. Churn out graduates to fit the operational needs of society. Do everything possible to iron out individuality. “Normal” = good.

Image found on the Internet at “the Teeming Brain”

STANDARDIZED SAUSAGES: And then Tallahassee (or any state capitol) gets involved, and the politicians want to control the content of the sausage. Job One gets narrowed to what is measurable on a punch card and recordable via binary code. All zeros and ones.

I’ve always considered that the purpose of schools is to assist parents in the education of their children. The responsibility resides with the parents. But the more the government gets involved… and the more we tell parents that it’s not their job anymore… and the more we standardize the “product”… then the less students are exposed to the beauty and the variety of discovery and creativity and knowledge.

FISHING: Remember that old aphorism about teaching someone to fish rather than giving them a meal at Long John Silver’s? Well it applies to education too. We need to be in the business of teaching children how to think, not cramming them full of multiple-choice answers.

And we need to set teachers free to teach, rather than reduce them to technicians controlling the flow of bytes of data, and then trying to make sure it’s still intact when it’s regurgitated at the other end.

It’s not measuring an education

FARCE: And now, in the latest farcical move by the State of Florida, the definition of a passing score on the FCAT has been adjusted in order to accommodate the new (it’s a moving target) grading rubric. Which tends to prove that the talking heads in government are more interested in the appearance than what is actually being learned.

I’m reminded of a Psychology test my senior year at Stetson University. Dr. Jay posted the results on his office door and drew a line at 90%, indicating the demarkation for a grade of “A.” My friend “Sally,” a serious overachiever, came in at 88% for a solid B-plus. Unaccustomed to anything other than an A, Sally stood in the hallway and cried. Eventually the professor came out with a sharpie, drew a thick line under the 88%, and wrote “A” next to Sally’s name.

She was ecstatic.

“But Sally,” I couldn’t help but say; “It doesn’t change the fact that you only scored an 88% on the test.”

FLASHBACK #2: “Think, people, think!” I used to say that a lot in class. I believe we need to say it again. And again. And again.

– DEREK (Dr. of Thinkology)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s