WHY SCHOOL? -
class discussion items (bring others)
- What is the purpose of school and education?
- How does the history of American Schools guide us?
- Who controls what happens in Schools?
FACTORY MODEL & REVISION
(From the talk:
"Redesigning the American High School" 12-17-95, by Dr. Thomas
Reefer, 3-year principle at Southwest H.S. in KCMO, also at
Westport H.S., & others.)
We are still using the Factory
Model of the 1950's - and it doesn't work
School holds these premises:
- Students are "raw
- Students are malleable
and will become what we make them.
- Students become "value
added" products through education.
- Students should progress
together, as any good assembly line.
- Teachers mold the
students into thinking adults.
- Teachers are the
"experts" who "dispense" knowledge. (Jug & Mugs perspective -
pour knowledge into receptacles)
"Public education puts relentless
pressure on its students to conform. Public schools were not only
created in the interests of industrialism - they were created in the image of
industrialism. In many ways, they reflect the factory culture they
were designed to support... Schools divide the curriculum into
specialist segments: some teachers install math in the students,
and others install history. They arrange the day into standard
units of times, marked out by the ringing of bells, much like a
factory announcing the beginning of the workday and the end of
breaks. Students are educated in batches, according to age, as if
the most important thing they have in common is their date of
manufacture." (Sir Ken Robinson & Lou
Aronica (2009) The
Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything.
Viking Books, pg. 230)
"'Bulimic education' force-feeds the learner with a feast of
'facts' which are to be memorised and used for certain narrowly
defined tasks, each leading to a single 'right answer' already
decided by teacher or textbook. After this use, the facts are
'purged' to make room for the next feeding. 'Bulimic education'
thus enforces an intensely local or short-range focus,
irrespective of any long-range benefits that might arise from the
succession of feed-purge cycles." - Robert de Beaugrande (quoted
in Bain, Ken (2004) What
the best college teachers do. Cambridge, MA. Harvard
Conspiracy Theory - It is often remarked that "we have the
education that serves the wealthy" and such. Here is a quotation
regarding that view:
“By the eighteenth century the initial emphasis on
gold was beginning to look a trifle naive. New schools of thought
were growing up which more and more emphasized commerce as the great
source of national vitality. Hence the philosophical question to
which they addressed themselves was not how to corner the gold
market but how to create ever more and more wealth by assisting the
rising merchant class in the furtherance of its tasks.
"The new philosophy brought with it a new social
problem: how to keep the poor poor.
It was generally admitted that unless the poor were poor, they could
not be counted upon to do an honest day’s toil without asking for
exorbitant wages. ‘To make the Society Happy…, it is
requisite that great numbers should be Ignorant as well as Poor,’
wrote Bernard Mandeville, the shrewdest and wickedest social
commentator of the early eighteenth century. So the Mercantilist
writers looked on the cheap agricultural and industrial labor of
England and gravely nodded approval.” (Heilbroner, Robert L.
(1995) The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times, and
Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers. 7th
Edition. Touchstone Books, Simon & Schuster. (page
Rich Kids buy into it because it pays off for them.
Good College, to law school, to $65k+ a year
Poor Kids see school as
"Prison" at worst and as "Social Club" at best.
Kids do "Seat Time" until they can get out.
Revision of Modern Schools:
Need to Begin with the
Goal in Mind.
about school size, graduation, etc.
we WANT FROM a HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATE? -
Some facts about our own incoming students:
"Over the past 4 years (2002 data) the following
characteristics have proven true for entering students (all ages):
48% test into developmental English;
62% do not read at what we have termed the
64% test into developmental math.
The importance of these numbers is that they demonstrate that new
students entering the system are not bringing the requisite skills
necessary to be successful. [Placement, Success and
Persistence of First-Time Student Developmental Cohorts -
Office of Research, Evaluation and Assessment,The Metropolitan
Community Colleges] [emphasis is mine].
a student paper that exemplifies the transformational aspect
"Since the beginning of this course
I have constantly found movies, television shows, books and people
mentioning disabilities. I had never been so aware. One woman in
the course stated a couple of weeks ago that we needed to be
trained to be observant. I believe that this statement can cover
all of what my education has been. It has been less about what I
can remember from classes, because a lot of the time it seems like
not much, but more about how each course makes me observant about
different topics or ideas. I should tell this to the Education
Testing Services (ETS) who form our standardized tests. (ha!)
" (S. Shirk, 2012. DDUMKC
HOW do we GET THERE?
"The mistake that many policymakers
make is to believe that in education the best way to face the
future is by improving what they did in the past."
(Sir Ken Robinson & Lou Aronica (2009) The Element: How Finding
Your Passion Changes Everything. Viking Books,
3 Areas in Education:
Most reform movements focus on Curriculum and Assessment (No Child
Left Behind, for example).
- Curriculum - Material we expect students to learn.
- Pedagogy - The process of instruction, and the support systems
that are designed to help students learn.
- Assessment - Measuring and demonstrating that students have
Standardize curriculum so it fits a standardized test.
Teach to the test because the test scores determine the label of
"Good" vs. "Failing" school.
Standardized testing is big business. "Using the Government
Accounting Office figures, these testing companies may generate
considerably more than $100 Billion dollars in business over seven
years." (Sir Ken Robinson & Lou Aronica (2009) The Element: How Finding
Your Passion Changes Everything. Viking Books,
Teaching to status of Profession.
Education in the Social Milieu.
- Teacher pay
is low compared to responsibility ($25k in MO,
$23k in KS, by U.S. Census)
training is often poor - treated as a "joke"
teacher load - to build personal relationships.
Reputation of Teachers
- 3 reasons
to teach: June, July & August
- Those who
can - do.
can't even pass the English & Math tests.
advise parents on development.
have a trust in the teachers' knowledge &
identify relevance of school performance to
job & life.
Assessments - Make Education directly relevant to
Education requires a Coalition of
- Parents avoid
Back to School Night
- Reduce the
Anti-Intellectualism in society.
of Authority - Self-Governing Schools
parents & teachers in Curriculum selection
decision making in hands of those who must carry
- This also
shows teaching as a profession.
gives diploma based on Evidence that student
demonstration of Competence at H.S. level.
- Ability to
learn, explore, write & speak.
- Ability to
research information & draw reasonable
- Evaluate the School by how Students
are doing at 1 year, 5 years, 15 years after
meaningful measures addressing not only
employment and income, but:
for their goals and activities,
for and participation as an adult citizen,
within and contributions to the society,
- These are, of
course, more meaningful measures, but also
harder to define and measure.
to graph of rates of education completion, 1940 to 1991
to graph of rates of dropouts 1990 - 2010
H.S. Dropout rate has
stabilized around 15-16%.
Who drops out:
In 1940 only 38% of people in
their late 20's had H.S. Diploma.
Now, H.S. is not a luxury, it
is basic education.
White females, African-American males @ 20%
of Dropping Out: http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2006/dropout/
Significantly lower income ($12,184
for dropout vs. $20,431 for H.S. grad. vs. $51,000 for college
Less likely to be in the labor force.
Dropouts over the age of 24 tend to report being in worse health
than adults who are not dropouts, regardless of income.
Reduced Life Expectancy- 10+ year difference for HS drop out vs.
college graduate. Even worse, life expectancy has decreased
since 1990 for drop outs. (source NYTimes
Dropouts also make up disproportionately higher percentages of the
nation's prison and death row inmates.
Influencing Dropping Out:
- Poverty - Lack of
financial resources is most highly associated with dropping
- The Specific School -
Modeling by Friends
- Dropping out is "Contagious".
- Impersonal, large,
inner-city schools have higher drop rates.
- Smaller high schools
provide more opportunity for athletic, social,
interpersonal, and extracurricular activities. Students feel
more control and an increased sense of belonging. Students
at smaller high schools are more likely to graduate.
Not Viewing Diploma as
a Career Asset.
- As one's friends drop,
one is more likely to consider dropping.
- Only among White youth
is there a dramatic difference in the unemployment rates of
H.S. grads & Non-grads.
- For African-Americans
& Hispanics/Latinos, having a diploma does not
significantly impact employment.
Poor English Skills -
- Number one reason
students give for dropping.
- After years of doing
poorly, school becomes a punishment, no reinforcement.
Personal Situations -
- Youth whose native
language is not English are more likely to quit
school. (One study in Chicago found a 95% drop-rate
for Native Americans in public school, but only 11% in a
H.S. with a bi-cultural, bilingual program.)
- Especially for females
personal situations are cited.
- Pregnancy &
marriage are common reasons given.
Apparent Philosophy of School Discipline:
"If you can't engage them, control them."
So, how can we seek to engage a broader range of students?
What do we need to do to make school and education more relevant?
College - Is it Worth it?
Estimated cost of college
This included tuition, living
expenses, books and fees, and income not earned during college
Estimated time of return on investment - 10 years.
- NPR Story - Education-Earnings
Gap Widens "NPR Morning
Edition, March 28, 2005 · The earnings gap
between high-school and college graduates continues to widen,
the Census Bureau says. On average, college graduates now earn
just over $51,000 a year, almost twice as much as high-school
graduates. And those with no high-school diploma have actually
seen their earnings drop in recent years. Educated populace more productive, more aware of
- "The median
income of high school dropouts age 18 and over was $12,184 in
Income difference between
22-year old H.S. grad vs. B.A. is $8,000.
More job opportunities - can still work jobs that don't
require a degree.
Employers want people with critical thinking, writing, and
broader world view.
What are the Intangibles of college
education? Aside from money, why go?
Other Routes for Life
Blue Collar Success Stories &
Satisfaction (Resource: BlueCollarAndProudofIt.com)
Skilled Trades are NOT bad jobs
Low End work, Wage Slave work, Nickel
& Dimed work... these are the dead ends of poverty to
|| Silly Internet Sites
Satirical Explanations of the
Reasoning Behind "No Child Left Behind" - Football and Dentistry
Increasing Number Of Parents Opting To Have Children School-Homed
|| Interesting Internet
Walt Bodine Show - "The
Ethics of Education"
Digest of Education
MO State Report Card
School District Data
Federal Budget Info -
George Lucas Educational
Foundation - lots of info on creativity in modern education.
U.S. Department of Education
in USA, from US Census
of Elementary and Secondary School Teachers - U.S. Census Data
Melinda Gates Foundation - On Education
Last Modified March 9, 2013