"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Education for Democracy

Our environment is sick and our system of education is sick. Why? They are sick for the same reason -- corporate greed. It's as simple as that.

My uncle was a high school science teacher in Freehold, New Jersey and Bruce Springsteen just happened to be one of his students. Springsteen would bring his guitar to class and my uncle would tell him he was never going to amount to anything.

Today, one of my students brought a cake to school to share with his friends and teachers. He baked the cake himself and proudly walked into class excited that so many people enjoyed the cake. He told everyone how much he loves to bake.

Education is about freedom and passion. It's about loving something so much that you want to immerse yourself in the subject, whatever that subject might be. Basing an educational system on standardized testing of meaningless facts and forcing children to take test after test is nothing less than child abuse. Children must be provided with opportunities to experience life and explore where their passions lie. The current system is robbing them of their hearts and souls. Politicians and business leaders who are profiting from a regime built upon turning public education into a one-size-fits all mindless activity for their own economic gain are playing a dangerous game. Paul Wellstone understood this and so do the good teachers and parents. It is time to hold those who hide behind the empty rhetoric of accountability accountable for wreaking havoc with our children and our nation's future.

Perhaps someone like Bruce Springsteen who understands the importance of pursuing one's passions will step up to the plate and take a stand on NCLB. His son is in my daughter's class and the next time I see him, I think I will ask him.

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