Thursday, March 17, 2011

Twitter Book Club: Herb Kohl (2003) Stupidity & Tears - Ch 1


After reading his book 36 Children, I decided I still needed to hear more from Herb Kohl, perhaps something more recent. 36 Children was written in the 1960s very soon after his experience in that classroom, I wondered what a few decades might have done with his perspective and stance on issues. Afterall, there does appear to be a shift among many education writers over time. Neil Postman is a good example as the tone and message in his early work seems to be slightly different than the books he wrote in the latter half of his career. Diane Ravitch is another good example. I am not quite sure I found any difference in perspective but I still really enjoyed this book and in many ways find it more on point with current struggles we face in education policy and reform.

Chapter 1: Stupidity and Tears

"The tests were imposed on the children because certain wealthy, conservative Californians were able, through the i... http://tl.gd/969nbhless than a minute ago via Twittelator


This quote completely mirrors the controversy in Eden Prairie Public Schools this year.

"She has to deny what she knows, pretend to supervisors that she is abiding by the foolish English-only mandates, a... http://tl.gd/969o85less than a minute ago via Twittelator


Very Neil Postman!

"The stupidity game is painful to play, but more and more teachers who are forced to teach against their conscience... http://tl.gd/969p07less than a minute ago via Twittelator


Lets repeat that quote:
"The stupidity game is painful to play, but more and more teachers who are forced to teach against their conscience and pedagogical experience are playing it because they do not want to give up on their students." Kohl

"They develop a cynical attitude toward their profession while trying to maintain their love of teaching." Kohlless than a minute ago via Twittelator


I certainly have seen this happen. I have felt within myself.

@anderscj your focus on Kohl and 36 Children really took me back into that book- thnx for the post of framing quotes http://bit.ly/dS9uf2less than a minute ago via TweetDeck



@pammoran thanks for recommending it. Reading his Stupidity & Tears now.less than a minute ago via Twitterrific



@anderscj amazing how some things never change in ed - retro reads frame groundhog day ....less than a minute ago via TweetDeck



"Living with stupidity alienates teachers from their work and is perhaps one of the main causes of teacher turnover... http://tl.gd/969s6bless than a minute ago via Twittelator


Lets repeat that in full:
"Living with stupidity alienates teachers from their work and is perhaps one of the main causes of teacher turnover among people who love children and find teaching magical. It certainly is what motivates many young and gifted teachers, who want to teach in the most undeserved public schools, to migrate to charter schools and private schools and to open their minds to working in voucher-based programs, or leave the profession altogether. Many intelligent and caring teachers simply do not want to pay the price of making themselves stupid as the cost of teaching in public schools." Kohl
Just had a conversation yesterday with a veteran board certified teacher about just this issue.

"Becoming stupid can be demoralizing. But it can also be a call to resistance and the rebirth of teacher militancy." Kohlless than a minute ago via Twittelator


Isn't this why most of us who are engaged in these online social spaces like blogs and Twitter do it? Shouldn't it be our calling to bring more educators into the fold?

"Whether to act and get into trouble while maintaining self-respect, or conform and feel stupid—this is a major str... http://tl.gd/96a0u6less than a minute ago via Twittelator



"The students face the same cynical forms of schooling and react in the same ways. They are trapped in a system tha... http://tl.gd/96mnrcless than a minute ago via Twittelator


I think we need to collect data that proves this to be true and paste it up everywhere there is a data wall:
"The students face the same cynical forms of schooling and react in the same ways. They are trapped in a system that claims to have their learning and success in mind, though really it is designed and administered as a failure system with high-stakes testing, 'teacher-proof' curriculum, unrealistic standards, and punishment for so-called underperforming schools that serve children of the poor and working class." Kohl

"The distinction between failing in school and behaving stupidly in order to avoid failing is not often discussed by educators." Kohlless than a minute ago via Twittelator


See: John Holt's How Children Fail.

"Certainly the systems need coherence and standards, but it is very unlikely that one can succeed in transforming a... http://tl.gd/96mqu7less than a minute ago via Twittelator


Here is where I differ with Kohl slightly. It is also where I differ with Ravitch. I am not sure there is any need for content standards...at all.

"With the recent reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, we now reward successful programs a... http://tl.gd/96mvonless than a minute ago via Twittelator



"as one reads on does it become clear that the way eight thousand new 'qualified' teacher candidates were identifie... http://tl.gd/96qatdless than a minute ago via Twittelator


Lets repeat this one because it certainly is relevant today in the state where I live and work:
"as one reads on does it become clear that the way eight thousand new 'qualified' teacher candidates were identified simply by lowering the standards for certification. Qualified candidates now include people just entering teacher education programs, Teach for America recruits with no qualifications but special variances from the schools, and other people whose ability to teach poor children is no greater than the so-called unqualified teachers of the past." Kohl
Isn't this exactly what the Minnesota Just did!

Dayton Signs Minnesota Alternative Teacher License Bill Into Law: MyFoxTWINCITIES.com


@pammoran I found an answer to my Kohl TFA ? From his (2003) Stupidity & Tears: http://tl.gd/96qatdless than a minute ago via Twitterrific



"One question that interests me is what became of the child who revealed that the emperor was naked." Kohlless than a minute ago via Twittelator


I absolutely love this quote and have used it quite a bit this week.

"Confronting stupidity when it is sanctioned and so easy to slip into can make for a frustrating life on the margin... http://tl.gd/96qf08less than a minute ago via Twittelator



"Stupefaction and wide-awakeness are steps on the road to undoing passivity and stupidity and moving people toward ... http://tl.gd/96qj59less than a minute ago via Twittelator



"The teaching profession is not innocent here—often, teachers' organizations are willing to accept stupidity as the... http://tl.gd/96qkchless than a minute ago via Twittelator

No comments: