Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Book post

I plowed through Sykes' Dumbing Down Our Kids. I think the best quote I can pull from it is toward the end: "[t]he first step of meaningful reform is to recognize that saving our children is not the same as saving the public school system." As it is, the procedures and values are so entrenched that we need to scrap the whole thing and start from scratch. I don't disagree--check out my last paragraph.

I think the problem stems from is the infiltration of relativism everywhere. Benedict XVI has mentioned the "dictatorship of relativism" and that's what it certainly smells like to me.

The idea of Creative Spelling, lack of grammar correction, and comparing correct spelling to simply etiquette sure sounds a lot like, "Do what feels good to you. There are no right or wrong answers."
And the Fuzzy Math in that chapter sounds the same. "It's the process we want to look at; being concerned about right answers is repressive and uncreative."

So won plus too iz for. And that's okay. It's old-fashioned, unpopular, destructive to children's self-esteem, and mean to say otherwise. He discusses the moral relativism in there, too, which is nice, but I'm not going to hit anyone over the head with that hammer.
Unfortunately, in adulthood, there are right and wrong answers and consequences thereof. After 13 or more years of "You're fine just as you are," finding that out the hard way is a bitter pill to swallow.

Here's a vignette from my own teaching experience.
The State of Michigan came down with new mandates for class time--it was to be increased something like 40 hours. My thought? "That's another five or six days! A whole week! I could get something more done!"
When we were told about it, our principal had it broken down: Six more days or four more minutes per class period, something like that. I found it ridiculous--four more minutes? Of what value is that? It's useless! Give me those six days!
When put to a vote, however, overwhelmingly the staff wanted four more minutes. I was disappointed but not surprised. We then had a new series of questions: Did that include lunch periods? Would we then have bells, since we wouldn't be ending right on the fives?
The most surreal moment to me was when one teacher, less than five years from retirement, raised her hand. "We will be getting paid for those additional forty hours, right?"

Cue Rod Serling. And I am so glad we're homeschooling...

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At 5:50 AM, Blogger Catherine said...

That vignette is exactly why I quit the teacher training I was in (as a second career after business) and my husband and I just started our family. I come from a hardworking, just-get-your-paycheck-and-be-happy kind of existence, and I just didn't fit in, even with the students. It was absolutely hilarious to hear the students and professors discussing "this homeschooling trend" though. "Maybe they just don't want their kids to learn certain things?" Priceless.


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