Kerr-azy Education Solutions

Last week’s stunner was a feeling of agreement with Bob Kerr:

No summits, no rigorous testing of teachers, can restore what has been lost in too many schools — the basic respect for learning and for the place a teacher holds in making good things possible.
Until we can reverse the damage done before some kids even show up for the first day of class, there is little chance that equal opportunity will be the rule in Rhode Island schools.

Of course, disagreement may arise over the symptoms of the “damage done” and would certainly arise over its causes. Some common ground exists:

… at the heart of it all, as always, is the man or woman who prepares a classroom in the morning to welcome students who carry a full load of electronic distractions and social problems through the door. …
Until we know what it’s like to work in an environment where eager participation in class by a student can bring ridicule or worse — where text messaging claims more attention than the mathematical equations on the board — we will only look silly rushing to judgment.

But what to do about those insidious “social problems”? Experience reading Kerr should lead one to expect the usual: welfare programs, subsidized child and health care, affordable housing programs, laws against discrimination, and so on. In short, the parade of policies that have stood the poor in such good stead, the lessons of dependency, and the sense that things not given are not achievable.
If I may be overly simplistic, the guiding principle of this approach is that material circumstances create culture. Conflicting examples of cultures of varying health and wealth, however, suggest that it is not so. Rather, selective acculturation is the wellspring of opportunity. The hope of “yes you can” is incompatible with the pledge of “here you go.” Better to project the message: “this you must.”
The kids don’t “stare and scribble and scratch and fail” because “their only real failing was being born into lousy circumstances.” They’ve been born into circumstances of which most people throughout history would be envious (the classroom being a central emblem). They sabotage their opportunities because trying involves risk. They mock each other’s academic success because if they bring each other down, they can continue to blame the system, the Man, the society for not handing over enough to ensure better circumstances.
And the worst part of the whole scenario is how long that attitude has existed — and been readily identifiable. We’re into decades, now, and unless we adults find within ourselves the confidence to dictate terms of responsibility, we will continue to damn the kids to lives of staring and scribbling and scratching and failing.

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Mike Cappelli
Mike Cappelli
13 years ago

Justin,
It’s just so easy to be a liberal. No thinking is required. The heavy lifting of fixing problems never has, nor ever will be the calling of cowards. And that’s exactly what liberals, like the Kerrs of the world, are – they are cowards. But more than that, they are intellectually inferior – or dishonest, they can choose – because history is ripe with examples of their thinking and the disastrous results is has produced.
It’s easy to run for office telling everybody you are going to give them something. Try running telling them you are going to take something away.
Today we are at the tipping point. This state has, for so long, been voting in, the socialist liberals, the redistributionists, that their numbers overwhelm the tax paying populace. Come election time, the majority of voters sucks off the system, be them public employees or welfare recipients. Try running for office claiming you are going to reign that in.
Don’t ever expect an intelligent thought from Kerr or his liberal friends. Thinking is too tough for those cowards. It’s just so much easier to be a liberal.

Mike
Mike
13 years ago

If the public employee union scum continues to ru(i)n the state here is the real RI Future: Chicago raised it’s sales tax Friday to a business friendly 10.25%. No misprint-that’s TEN AND A QUARTER PERCENT. The “progressives” who dominate C(r)ook County had wanted 11% but they compromised(LOL). [snip] XXX Stroger, Cook County get money for future Budget fight ends with sales-tax hike that angers many By Hal Dardick and Robert Becker | Tribune reporters March 2, 2008 Oh, what a difference a percentage point makes. Only a year ago, County Board President Todd Stroger was lopping bodies from the county payroll and closing health clinics as a way to heal a gaping budget deficit. Along the way, he garnered a measure of goodwill from political opponents and showed signs of instituting some of the reforms he had promised in his bid to succeed his father — the late John Stroger — as the board president. Now with the bitter passage early Saturday of a measure that more than doubles the county sales tax — to 1.75 percent from 0.75 percent — Stroger has the cash to hire more than 1,000 new employees and close the county’s projected $234 million deficit. The new budget was approved on a 10-7 vote shortly after midnight Friday, avoiding the need for court action to keep county government offices open. Perhaps more importantly for Stroger, the new revenue likely negates the need for the county to seek additional tax hikes before 2010, when he is expected to seek re-election. The new tax increase, which confers the dubious honor on Chicago of having the highest sales tax — 10.25 percent — of any major U.S. city, will add about $426 million annually to the county’s coffers. But Stroger’s victory was not complete. Stroger settled for a… Read more »

Ken
Ken
13 years ago

It is interesting that Justin would Blog “Kerr-azy Education Solutions” and today in the Hawaiian Advertiser newspaper “Needed: Leaders to transform education” was printed in the “Opinion” section of the newspaper co-written by the following:
Voices of Educators is comprised of some of Hawaii’s top education experts, including: Liz Chun, executive director of Good Beginnings Alliance; Patricia Hamamoto, superintendent of the Department of Education; Christine Sorensen, dean of the University of Hawaii’s College of Education; Donald B. Young, Hawaiçi Educational Policy Center; Roger Takabayashi from the Hawaii State Teachers Association; Sharon Mahoe of the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board; Alvin Nagasako of the Hawaii Government Employees Association; and Robert Witt of the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools.
Like Bob Kerr’s article, the Hawaii article “Needed: Leaders to transform education” points to a ballooning problem that stretches across the United States compounding the education of our nation’s children. That is administrative transformational leadership.
“Needed: Leaders to transform education” article can be found at the following link:
http://the.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/2008/Mar/02/op/hawaii803020335.html

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