Sunday, August 27, 2006

Contraband textbooks

Homeschoolers suffered a setback when ebay banned textbooks for teachers and solution manuals from its site. Textbooks are joining a long list of prohibited items on ebay like illegal drugs, reports WND.

A new policy by Internet trading behemoth eBay that bans homeschool teachers' texts from its auctions is prompting a tirade of complaints from the company's faithful customers.
Surely, institutions shouldn't have a monopoly on acquiring these instructional materials.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Ed pablum masquerading as visions

This writer decries a "crisis of ignorance" but I am afraid his prescriptions will lead to more ignorance.

I also find it hilarious that an artificial marker like the turn of a century is said to make the world "unrecognizable".

Anyone who has read Tom Friedman's "The World is Flat" or seen Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" knows that our times are radically different than they were even 10 years ago. Our children and the "yet to be born" are inheriting a world and way of living that is becoming unrecognizable. The awesome power and potential of the Internet and the new technology being created is transforming how we communicate and collaborate while at the same time we are on a collision course with destructive environmental issues the results of which are impossible to calculate.I'm reminded of Buckminster Fuller's words, "There is no environmental crisis, or food crisis, or energy crisis. There is a crisis of ignorance." As an educator, those words are disturbing. Why are we so ignorant? What is it about our approach to education and our way of living on this planet that has caused this crisis?
Apparently, the way to overcome ignorance is less emphasis on knowledge and more failed progressive ed practices.

Equally disturbing is our approach to education does not consider how the brain works and how people actually learn. Why do so many children lose their uniqueness and joy of learning? For many students, it's the extra-curricular activities - music, theater, sports - that excite and fully engage students. These activities bring out the best in young people and foster important skills - the ability to collaborate and commit to a high quality performance - to do their best. Students choose these activities and I'm convinced that if students had more choice in what they learned and classes were more project- and problem-based, more experiential and hands-on, students would develop the essential skills for the 21st century. In other words, the three Rs would be replaced by the three Cs - creative problem solving, collaboration and communication - integrating the basic skills in deeper, more relevant learning experiences. New models for schools are being created around the country. Hi-Tech High in San Diego and spin-offs of that school are being developed. The Met and Big Picture Schools developed in Providence are also being replicated. Thirty Project Based Learning Schools under the EdVisions network have opened around the country. The Great Maine Schools Project is working at "reinventing the American High School" - all of these attempts are being funded by the Gates Foundation. At present, however, most schools still follow an obsolete Industrial Age model. The NCLB legislation is emphasizing skills that are being learned through drill rather than developing those skills through relevant learning experiences that prepare young people for the 21st century.