Tag Archives: Education

Voting and Learning Denied. Education and Entitlement

©copyright 2013. Betsy L. Angert BeThink
Voting Rights Act CBS News
Is it fear of the darkness that dims our mind or is it the dim of our mind that is dark and damning? No one can be sure; however we can see what occurs and ask why. Why might Americans systematically deny rights to people of color? Why might the young, the most vulnerable among us, be victims of prey? Indeed, why do we prejudge people at all and why is it that even the elderly cannot escape our diabolical doings? The theories abound; answers escape us. Nevertheless, the veracity is our truth. The right to learn and the right to vote are denied.

We close their schools, deny them an equal and equitable education, and in 2013 we may ultimately rescind the voting rights of the few. In January of this year, the Journey For Justice 2 Alliance met with officials in Washington, District of Columbia, to discuss the topic, education policies that discriminate. Today, on February 27, 2013, just down the lane from the Department of Education hearing, another inquiry was held. The Supreme Court heard the case, Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder. On the face of it, the argument may seem separate from the subject of school closures. However, considering the consequences of what might be after a day of testimony, Voting Rights Law Draws Skepticism From Justices, there is reason for concern. Will the cycle of recrimination continue? Will we curse the darkness that is our own?
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Unions, Education and The Chicago Teachers Strike

By Betsy L. Angert

The Chicago Teachers Union strike, and the recent rallies held in conjunction, speak to a problem larger than the conventional meme of pay increases, tenure, or pensions. Chicago Teachers want better working conditions. They realize as no other employees might; the environments in which they work fashion the future of our nation. Our children’s education is at-risk.

Twenty-five years have passed since Chicago Teachers Union members have gone out on strike. These Educators realize as do all workers ¬Unions today are not the powerhouses of yesteryear. According to a study by Sociologist Jake Rosenfeld, unionization among private-sector full-time employees fell by 40% between 1984 and 2002. Indeed, as cited in Unions, Norms, and the Rise in American Wage Inequality, “From 1973 to 2007, private sector union membership in the United States declined from 34 to 8 percent for men and from 16 to 6 percent among women. Inequality in hourly wages increased by over 40 percent in this period.”

The reasons are stark. Continue reading

Progress and the Power of a Plan

copyright © 2012 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

Inherent within each of us is a conflict. Generally speaking, we think progress is a sign of achievement. As George Bernard Shaw aptly articulated, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” Indeed, politically, at one time or another, persons within each Party have embraced the label, “Progressives.” However, while we glorify change, we also disdain it. Most of us look back and think, “Those were the days.”

The good old days are commonly defined as “when we were young.” It might have been the 1940s; the fifties, or some other decade. In earlier eras, schools were vehicles for success. Now, these same institutions are seen and scored as failures. Teachers were principled. Today, throughout the news we read, educators are perverse. Our children come home and tell tales that affirm what adults have come to believe is true; teachers are bad! Public education is worse. Parents surmise home schools or private learning centers would better serve their needs. Cyber classes, too, must be an option. Online learning tailors a lesson, much more so than a unionized teacher would. The people want Choice!

There is one consensus; tests are good. Accountability is the gold standard. Continue reading

Bob Koehler on Invisible Boundaries

By Robert C. Koehler

I’m sending out an old column this week. I just got back from Paris, where my daughter, Alison, got married. I’m still jet-lagged. This column, about an earlier transition in her life (our lives) was written in 2004.

Tribune Media Services

Nothing fills an emotional void quite like the piercing drone of bagpipes. No matter the kids were rolling their eyeballs as they shuffled two-by-two into the stifling field house — this was profound, and I was on the verge of tears.

Oh, there she is. My daughter. Gulp. Eighteen years old. A college student. I stifled the impulse to wave and embarrass her still further. We had fleeting eye contact, then she turned to the business of finding her seat, one of almost 500 reluctant stars of this event.

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The Crisis of Education in America: “How to Become a Serf”

By John Kozy
Global Research

Educational systems now train workers to fulfill the needs of companies. A society in which people exist for the sake of companies is a society enslaved. But there’s a deep problem with the notion that education should equal vocational training.

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The Good School; Principals or Principles


Good School/Bad School

copyright © 2012 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

A few organizations have attempted to answer The Good School Question. Each asks, “What epitomizes a great learning center?” “How might we, as a society, give birth to quality institutions?” The solutions are many. All of the associations speak of guiding principles. A few also strongly favor Principal or Teacher Leadership. The various alliances advance the premise; our first and foremost priority must be our children. In prose, beautifully composed, mission statements submit, adult wants cannot come before the needs of our offspring. Yet, after careful examination it is difficult to discern this truth. Many aspirations. Many a mirage. How might we know which is which? Once reviewed, every one of us will decide what works well in education and how might we execute a plan. Will principles, Principals, or pedagogy lead learners to salvation.

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August To June; Bringing Life to Palm Beach Schools

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copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

As any Mom or Dad might do on Parent Teacher Conference Day, Amy Valens, the Educator featured in the documentary film August To June, traveled from “classroom to classroom.” This journey was not a conventional one. Indeed, Amy did not attend a series of Parent Teacher Conferences. What she did was appear at Palm Beach screenings of her documentary. The film follows twenty-six [26] third and fourth graders who studied with Amy in her last year of teaching. The open classroom, within a public school, “Brings Life” to education.

After the movie was viewed, Ms Valens and the audiences engaged in conversations. They discussed what they saw and how it might relate to a broader dialogue. The subjects of Education Reform, Classroom Standards, Teacher Quality, Merit Pay, Student-Rewards for Success, Parent Involvement, and Testing are but a few topics prominent in our national debate. While the assemblies of viewers varied widely, the results were the same. Every child, every class, all Teachers, and each parent, tells a unique tale. Regardless of the individual or group, we see the world, or in this case the film, through our own lens. Continue reading

Reprise George Carlin: The American Dream

 

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Primary Teachers and Their Pedagogy

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copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

I offer homage to a Teacher whose pedagogy touched me in a manner invisible to me until this moment. For scores, I understood what a gift he was to me. His open and caring ways were as I craved. However, I had never imagined that this man’s schooling style made the difference in my life. Today, I invite each of us to look beyond the boundaries or the labels.

Often in life we are asked to reflect; who was or were your most profound Teachers. I shared my stories in a missive or more. Those Who Can Teach; Life Lessons Learned, Those Who Can Teach; Transformative Teachers, and Why I Write and Write, Then Write Again. There are myriad sorts of Teachers. A few are true treasures. These special souls take a personal interest in us as individuals. Students are seen as whole beings, not solely a score, or a name to be identified as a number. Without these rare Teachers we would not soar.

Innumerable Scholars seek to inform rather than interact in a way that inspires. Academicians, an abundance of these, think to fill a brain full of facts, formulas, and figures, is to teach. I wonder; do these Educators believe they learn from their students? I cannot know with certainty. For myriad mentors, their labor is not born out of love, but out of need . . . the need to train students for a test. Continue reading

Save Our Schools; Let Us Never Forget the Mission, March, and Movement

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copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

Near a month has passed since the Save Our Schools storm swept through Washington District of Columbia. As with all squalls the effects of such an event linger long after the winds die down. A physical space cleaned-up after a tempest takes place does not erase the memory of what occurred. Be it a blast of air or an action, the calm does not close a chapter in our lives. The current, commitment, the cause, and our concern do not wane with time, that is, unless we choose to move on or tell ourselves that that is possible. I believe the notion the past is past is fallacious. Our past permeates the present and is a foundation for the future. Thus, for me, the thought, and the March to Save Our Schools are strong. It survives as is evidenced by the now named Movement.

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Why We Say Save Our Schools

copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

I am but one who will stand strong to ensure an equal education for all. All who do or plan to, will express themselves in various ways. Some will March. Others will Rally or gather in Conference. Several have, do, or expect to act locally. Countless change what they can for children within the dynamics that define their family. Nationwide, innumerable Americans join hands and embrace a common cause. Let us Save Our Schools. Continue reading

Those Who Can Teach; Life Lessons Learned

 
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copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches
~ George Bernard Shaw [Man and Superman, 1903]

“A fool’s brain digests philosophy into folly, science into superstition, and art into pedantry. Hence University education.”
~ George Bernard Shaw

I heard the words for as long as I recall. The meaning was intricately woven into my mind. I, as all little children since George Bernard Shaw scribed his belief, ”He who can, does; he who cannot, teaches,” was taught to believe that Teachers could choose no other career. Educators, entrusted with children’s lives were indeed, incapable beings. These individuals had tried and failed to perform well in professions that required intellect and, or dexterity. Because the incompetent were inept, they fled to schools and identified themselves as “Teachers.” In classrooms, less than sage scholars could teach with little authentic expertise. Today, as a culture, Americans choose to prove this erroneous truth. Grading the Teachers: Value-Added Analysis. Continue reading

The Genuine Genius

Malcolm Gladwell and Robert Krulwich at the 92nd Street Y

copyright © 2008. Revised Edition © 2011 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

As educators, parents, and persons who were once young and now thought to be elder, and thus, wiser, and more wondrous, and accomplished, within our own being we might feel we are less than we appear to be. Tis true; our parents, Teachers, Professors, and friends had such high hopes for us. Our own dreams were even more impressive. Most of us envisioned that we would reach the pinnacle as we progressed until we failed an examination, received a lower grade in a class, or “disappointed” our family when we did less well than they hoped we might? Continue reading

Shooting Safeguards. A Society Armed

 

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copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

Once again, Americans are up in arms or perchance, better armed and dangerous. Only little more than a week into 2011, citizens have had to confront their fears, feelings, all at gunpoint. It began on a calm, clear Saturday. In a Safeway Store Tucson parking lot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords held one of her customary Congress on the Corner events. It was January 8, 2011. Friends and admirers from each political Party turned out. Suddenly, cordial chatter turned icy cold. gunshots shattered the calm. People were slaughtered. Some survived. However, as a nation, we were all wounded.

Retorts followed. Seemingly, a culture was changed, or was it? Just as has occurred, many times in the recent past, people quickly took sides. Blame was ballied about. Solutions were also presented. Some argued for stricter gun control laws. Others used the occasion to validate a need for less restrictive restraints on gun ownership. Persons who held a position similar to the most prominent victim proposed a need to protect themselves. Continue reading

Profundity of Peace on Earth

 
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copyright © 2011 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

This year, Christmas and New Years Days were days of intense reflection. Perchance, that is true every year and for every individual. I cannot know what is true for others. I am only certain that on each of these dates I was immersed in a rigorous course of study. My gifts or the curriculum came wrapped in a routine event.

The lessons covered were Empathy and Education, although perhaps these were presented in reverse order. Possibly, the truer program was entropy and encouragement. Each edifies. I wonder; on each of the two days these topics were intertwined. In my attempt to analyze and understand what I needed to learn or did, I invite your assessments. Please indulge me as I share the story. Continue reading

You Are the Gift!

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

Perchance, on this the twenty-second commemoration of a lesson learned, it is time to reflect on our first, foremost, and greatest Teachers. More than a generation has passed. In that time, I have acquired much knowledge. Yet, I am forever reminded that the more I know, the more certain I am. I know nothing with certainty. What I once thought was the greatest treasure, a tradition I could never part with, was other than it appeared. I never imagined what would become my truth. Today, I share the tale with you. Continue reading

Corporate Sponsors in Schools

Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org

“The principle goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done – men who are creative, inventive and discoverers”
~ Jean Piaget [Swiss Psychologist. Pioneer in the study of child intelligence. 1896-1980]

“The purpose of education is to enable us to develop to the fullest that which is inside us”
~ Norman Cousins [Essayist, Editor associated with Saturday Evening Post 1912-1990]

”America’s noble experiment, universal education for all” may have become but an idealized theory. In practice it long seemed the impossible dream. However, for the hopeful this statement was a reverie, although the veracity was virtually unrecognizable at best. Still the notion lived on. The powerful prose marveled many. That is all but believers in a for-profit privatized educational system. Today, corporate aficionados have conquered. Commerce controls School District Administrators. It shapes decisions made. Countless elementary and secondary school campuses are transformed in accordance. Big business buys and sells city classrooms. Our forefathers would have thought present-day headlines could only appear in fictional accounts. Nonetheless banners blare, ”This Class Is Brought to You By. [fill in the corporate enterprise of your choice]” Continue reading

Humans; Heartbreak, Heartache, and Heart Felt Feelings

 

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert. Empathy And Education; BeThink or BeThink.org
Originally published, Thursday, October 19, 2006 at 13:24:53 PM

Currently, I am writing for an educational organization. In penning my pain for what occurs in our schools today, it occurred to me the same impersonal approach, awareness, or lack thereof, is evident in offices, neighborhoods, and in our broader community. People pretend to or believe they “ know” their fellow workers, their family members, and their friends. Yet, more often than not, I observe that this is not necessarily true. I, we, she, or he only comprehends what is visible on the surface.

Few choose to ask of, address, or answer the deeper concerns that life delivers daily; I offer this narrative and request your reflections. We all have our own tale to tell. I invite you to share yours. Please trust that I care; your secrets are safe with me. I suspect that others will honor you as I choose to do. I believe we all relate to sorrow.

Today the distress I wish to discuss is heartbreak, heartache, and heart felt feelings. In my own life, I am witnessing that many close to me are battling life-threatening illnesses. Their terminal diagnoses affect me deeply. They weigh heavy on those closer to the “ patient” than I. I cannot begin to imagine the pain long-suffering persons feel. Yet, through the quiet trials and tribulations of a teen, who supposedly studied under my tutelage, I learned. What we hide hurts us most. Continue reading

Race To the Top Leaves Children Behind

Collaborative Planning

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert. BeThink.org

While many muse as a culture we cannot continue “Waiting for Superman” to transform our schools, others expect our Teachers to be Supermen or Superwomen. Some say private school Educators are superior. Only the Instructors employed in public educational institutions are flawed. There seems to be agreement in our society; these Teachers cannot take the lead. The system, critics cry, out must change. Philanthropists proclaim they are here to save the day. Privatization is the only way to work through what has been a woeful failure. No, Administrators and the current Administration avow; Teachers are the problem. We must assess their performance and pay Educators accordingly. Continue reading

Money Moves No Minds

copyright © 2010 Betsy L. Angert. BeThink.org

In the Fall, this year and every year, in this nation talk turns to Education. The President of the United States delivers a speech to students. Articles appear in the news. Television broadcasts beckon us to think about our Education Nation. In 2010, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, did what many thought novel. He donated $100 million dollars to Newark City Schools. Some were skeptical of his motives. More rejoiced. Certainly with abundant cash in the coffers, change would come to the nations schools, or at least to the chosen educational institutions. However, it might not. Continue reading