The Buzz in Education Reform

Adam's Apple

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Equality or equal opportunity?

Disenfranchised: The Buzz in Education Reform
By Nancy Salvato, New Media Journal
January 2007

The word that most aptly describes the momentum behind education reform going into 2007 is disenfranchised. This can be applied to students in grades P all the way to 16. It can also be applied to adults who want to go back to school, who never completed school, or who are learning English as a second language. It can be used to describe those who find themselves on the wrong side of the law. This word can be mixed and matched with pretty much any type of person that is deserving of more opportunity; and who isn’t?

for full article:
http://www.newmediajournal.us/staff/nsalvato/01012007.htm
 

Annie

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Equality or equal opportunity?

Disenfranchised: The Buzz in Education Reform
By Nancy Salvato, New Media Journal
January 2007

The word that most aptly describes the momentum behind education reform going into 2007 is disenfranchised. This can be applied to students in grades P all the way to 16. It can also be applied to adults who want to go back to school, who never completed school, or who are learning English as a second language. It can be used to describe those who find themselves on the wrong side of the law. This word can be mixed and matched with pretty much any type of person that is deserving of more opportunity; and who isn’t?

for full article:
http://www.newmediajournal.us/staff/nsalvato/01012007.htm
Good gosh AA, I'm trying to figure out if the author was saying this 'disenfranchisement' should be taken into account for some reason or if it was meant to highlight the silliness in education.

Do you think it was meant seriously or sarcastically?
 
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Adam's Apple

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Possibly a bit of both. I have read other articles by Salvato on the topic of education, and she definitely doesn’t have much use for the U.S. approach. I’m not sure if the “disenfranchisement” term is one she has applied to proposed education reform or whether she is just commenting on it, but I have a feeling it is a term she has chosen to apply to the situation (although the title of her article might contradict that).

From the educational articles she has written, I know she does not think everyone has the same capabilities/talents to learn—only the same opportunity to learn—and she is definitely against treating everyone as equals in the education arena. To her, the “one size fits all” approach is “disenfranchising” students from the opportunity they have to get an education. I could be completely wrong in my interpretation of this particular article, but that’s basically what I got from it. As a professional teacher, how did you interpret it?
 

Annie

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Possibly a bit of both. I have read other articles by Salvato on the topic of education, and she definitely doesn’t have much use for the U.S. approach. I’m not sure if the “disenfranchisement” term is one she has applied to proposed education reform or whether she is just commenting on it, but I have a feeling it is a term she has chosen to apply to the situation (although the title of her article might contradict that).

From the educational articles she has written, I know she does not think everyone has the same capabilities/talents to learn—only the same opportunity to learn—and she is definitely against treating everyone as equals in the education arena. To her, the “one size fits all” approach is “disenfranchising” students from the opportunity they have to get an education. I could be completely wrong in my interpretation of this particular article, but that’s basically what I got from it. As a professional teacher, how did you interpret it?
As I said, I had problems discerning what her real intent was. There is no way to 'equalize' all opportunities, as the most important factors for most children are those provided by parental example, discipline, and work ethic; the last of course being a result of the first two.

There is a plethora of evidence, both through studies and examples of successful schools in 'deprived' areas, that very structured, very strong basics-based schools are the most successful. In inner cities over and over again, it's been the traditional religious based schools that consistently send students out of the neighborhoods and onto college. When the public schools copy those models, beyond uniforms, they too find much higher results. Why? They provide some of what is missing at home: structure, consistency, beginning each area of studies with basics-never assuming that the students 'know that.' It can be much more difficult identifying both gifted and learning problems in the early years from deprived neighborhoods.

In areas where the students have good role models regarding education and work ethics, it is much more likely that students enter pre-school, kindergarten, at very different levels. Some of course may be due to opportunities from home, others a function of innate ability and/or personality. Thus 'tracking' makes much more sense, but has basically been cut out of the schools, during the period of preserving self-esteem at all costs.

My opinion is that most, though not all of the problems with our educational system, stem from the education departments across the country. On the whole, it's the weakest discipline found on most campuses. For the most part the key to getting 'A's' in education courses is to parrot back what the professors have parroted back from journals, which parrot back the latest version of John Dewey and pop pychology making the rounds. It's quite incestuous and for the most part incapable of change with current methodologies.
 

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