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Use computers to schedule students because they probably just want to choose classes with their friends.  Keep students in submissive roles so they learn to “respect” authority.  (Years later the only teachers they will remember are the ones who don’t take any crap.)  Limit student choice of curriculum, because they aren’t mature enough to make those decisions.  I think it’s time for another of those assertive disciplining seminars.  I felt so good after the last one, being reassured that this was my class and I was in charge.  

Anti-Generosity. We have to do something to derail this foolish proposal that all students participate in volunteer service learningactivities.  This only steals time from real learning.  Sure, maybe students need to feel needed, but if they want to be bleeding-heart social workers, let them do this on their own time.  We have to do something about this cooperative learning movement.  It’s just a way of letting smart kids do the work for slow ones.  Stop cross-age tutoring, because the older youth may take advantage of the younger ones.

And the notion of peer counselors really turns me off.  Can you imagine what they would tell each other?  Let them bring their problems to a trained guidance counselor.  We shouldn’t get into controversial social issues in school or teach values, except for the flag and patriotism.  We have enough to do in the cognitive domain, so leave affective issues to parents.  Also, put a stop to this multiculturalism in curriculum.  Immigrant children should become American just as we had to.  Today’s kids will not produce unless you give them some reward or payoff, but, hey, that’s the American system.

Although these comments may not be typical of most schools, a war undoubtedly is going on between tradition and reform in contemporary education.  We believe, however, that conflict is the predictable reaction to the real changes sweeping education, and today’s reform will be the mode of the future.  The empowerment movement in schools must be seen as part of a broader cultural paradigm shift that is unsettling the established power relationships in Western culture.

Many traditionally powerless groups (e.g. women, people of color, ethnic minorities, and now children) are achieving fuller participation in an increasingly democratic world.  A prominent example is the recent U.N. document on the rights of children, which has gained the status of international law.  This shift to empowerment is a grassroots democracy movement that will impact all social institutions, including the school.

Mending Broken Circles

EDMS 512, Hood

Summer 2006

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