RE: DSM: RE: Recommended reading

Joseph Moore (
Wed, 18 Aug 1999 09:16:41 -0700

Rhonda wrote:

> I'm one of those drowning against the tide.

Rhonda - you are brave to keep trying! My sympathies.

It's tempting to think of school bureaucracies as simply a necessary evil
that got (wildly) out of control, thereby losing focus on the real purpose:
educating kids. The point of my post was to say that this is most decidedly
NOT the case - the insane bureaucracies and destructive teaching methods are
NOT an accidental development, but are the REAL POINT of public education.
Fichte and Mann (and Socrates in the Republic) didn't see mandatory state
education as a way to provide kids with the tools to think their own
thoughts and form their own opinions - far from it! All the proper
conclusions had already been reached by the rich and powerful and their
hangers-on. Fichte wanted disciplined Prussian troops and factory workers
who were incapable of disagreeing with their betters; Mann wanted to get
kids away from their poor, depraved parents so they could receive proper
Calvinist training: that hard work is the chief virtue of the poor, that
material wealth is a sign that you're virtuous, and poverty a sign that
you're morally inadequate (and not a sign that the factory owners, which
included Mann, weren't paying you enough).

The vision of the little red schoolhouse, where a kindly but firm teacher
imparts knowledge and, incidentally, a little culture to the callow youth of
America is, I assume, what people who sign up to be teachers have in mind. I
doubt anybody signs up with the intention of crushing little minds and
making children into next year's Human Resources (kinda like pig iron). But
the people who control the businesses that are 'partnering' with government
to 'reform' schools these days most decidedly DO NOT want a nation full of
capable, independent thinkers - nothing could be worse! How would you sell
them Nikes? How could you make them content with the insanely narrow
political choices we're offered in election after election? We might even
start wondering about people's rights to fortunes accumulated via child
labor, the rape of supposedly public lands, and the violent suppression of
labor - that would be VERY BAD from the point of view of the current power

Enough tirade. A they say, you can look it up.

> ----------
> From: rhonda goebel[]
> Reply To:
> Sent: Wednesday, August 18, 1999 1:46 AM
> To:
> Cc: 'Home'
> Subject: Re: DSM: RE: Recommended reading
> > Of course, some teachers are trying to do a good job. They are swimming
> > against the tide, at the very least, attempting to teach within a
> framework
> > designed to actively hinder learning.
> I have found that the
> school establishment does an effective job at reproducing itself by
> disallowing virtually any movement, however slight, away from their
> established norm, sometimes to the point of self-contradiction or
> hypocracy. Two examples come to mind.
> At our in-service training last year before the start of school, we had
> a staff discussion on how to implement concepts from a book on
> brain-based research. When I pointed out that according to one of the
> tidbits of brain-based research listed in the book people naturally
> begin to read anywhere between the ages of 4-10, and asked how we can
> include this vital piece of info in our school, before any discussion
> could take place the principal stepped in to say that because of outside
> pressures, we could not adapt that info to our school. So we continue
> to have pull out reading services for kids as young as 6, spending
> thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars on forcing young
> people to read before they are ready. No matter how reading services
> are masked, these kids are shamed, many plagued long term with feelings
> of inadequacy. Wildly enough, it seems all the staff agreed with the
> principal.
> The second example is a projection of what will happen this Friday at
> our next annual in-service, this one on inquiry based learning. We will
> be 'trained' in how to facilitate inquiry into subjects, following the
> lead of the children's interest. Yet all the packaged curriculum will
> not only remain and be expected to be followed (tenured teachers have
> actually lost their jobs for not following the script), but will be
> added to. Millions of tax payer dollars are spent on the purchase and
> update of packaged curriculum, just in our district alone. And then the
> tax payers get to also pay for our futile training so we can perceive
> and label ourselves as a 'progressive' school system. All at the expense
> of children's natural growth. Teaching in the establishment has been
> the most illogical reality I've ever experienced.

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