I just posted the following a comment on Will Richardson’s blog post, How Can You Not Be Angry?
I salute you. Stay angry!
You may remember that my New Year’s resolution was to swear more. That resolution was only partially tongue-in-cheek. We need to scream, swear, pull our pants down, wear costumes and whatever else it takes to save our public treasure (schools) from becoming the plaything of Gates, Murdoch and Broad. We are in deep trouble (kids are in worse trouble) if we don’t drop teacher civility and continue to be victimized.
As for swearing, Bill Gates called constructivism – a scientific theory as valid as gravity or evolution – bullshit IN PUBLIC AND IN PRINT. The quote appears within a few sentences of my comments in a recent Wired article. If Bill Gates calls the work of me and my colleagues, mentors and friends bullshit, how should I respond? Set up a VoiceThread? Make an Animoto? Decorate my bulletin boards with orange construction paper?
I always cite Abbie Hoffman as one of my heroes. Satire, mockery, outrageous behavior, civil disobedience and the courage of patriots helped end segregation and the War in Vietnam.
Teachers have changed the world, occasionally even in the United States. In 1964-65, African Americans in Alabama considered voting rights the folly of young people. It wasn’t until the TEACHERS of the Selma area refused to accept second-class status and joined the movement that African American adults across the state not only took the issue seriously, but were mobilized to take action. This led to Bloody Sunday on the Edmund Pettis Bridge and the passage of the Voting Rights Act. Some people, like Congressman John Lewis, had their skulls bashed in so that the rest of us may live up to the promise of America.
Watch http://amzn.to/pSXLZQ and learn how fearless college students changed America, jeopardizing their degrees and risking their lives. Buy the DVD and show it everybody you know.
Apartheid began to unravel in South Africa when thousands of students walked out of school because they were being miseducated (taught Afrikans instead of English). Some children were killed but Apartheid ended less than twenty years later. When countless American urban schools are entirely segregated and the students are fed a steady diet of test-prep, it may be time to end Apartheid education in this country as well.
Frankly, I didn’t give much thought to Saturday’s March on Washington because progressive educators can’t normally organize a softball game, but I plan on being there Saturday. I also signed-on as an endorser.
I will travel cross-country because of the unequivocal DEMANDS listed at http://www.saveourschoolsmarch.org/about/guiding-principles/ It is so refreshing to see educators start demanding what is right, not looking for compromises when none are warranted, ala Barack Obama.
If children cannot count on each and every one of their educators to stand between them and the madness, who can they count on?
Veteran educator Gary Stager, Ph.D. is the author of Twenty Things to Do with a Computer – Forward 50, co-author of Invent To Learn — Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, publisher at Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, and the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. He led professional development in the world’s first 1:1 laptop schools thirty years ago and designed one of the oldest online graduate school programs. Gary is also the curator of The Seymour Papert archives at DailyPapert.com. Learn more about Gary here.
7 thoughts on “Damned Right I’m Angry!”
I think the change will happen outside of schools. Teachers will come together online and organize into virtual schools that occur outside the main stream, sort of open source education. Essentially the physical school will become a meeting place but the learning/education will occur outside the system and in spite of it and I think this will occur in America as a reaction to the current education and economic crisis. That’s my 2 cents worth
1) Gates and the reporter clearly do not understand “constructivism” – they’ve even mislabeled a learning theory with a philosophical position (constructionism is not the same as constructivism). Gates equates teaching based in constructivism with discovery learning. Nothing could be further from the truth.
2) If he intends to equate constructivism with evolution as a bad thing, he might want to reconsider since evolution is perhaps the most well supported idea in all of biology. I guess we ought all adopt constructivist views since it too, is very very well supported.
Stay angry my friend.
What’s wrong with discovery learning? (are you referring to the concept or the company?)
The concept. It’s a myth. Kids don’t just “figure out” density, teachers provide particular experiences & scaffolding to help students come to understand density.
Just for the record. I never used the term “discovery” anywhere. I don’t believe in using adjectives to modify “learning.”
Just so you know the criticism about using the word discovery was aimed at Gates, not Stager.
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