Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Achieving the $ucce$$ of public schools, on the Catholic dime

A certain Anonymous Poster Below (who really ought to find herself a good internet handle; I've got some old ones I can lend you) says of a guest article in our diocesan paper:

"The column is a slap in the face of every Catholic school teacher, every Catholic school student, every parent who's paying for Catholic schools, and every homeschooler in the diocese. Yep, WE don't have our kids in the public schools because THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS DON'T HAVE ENOUGH.....[drum roll, please]... $$$MONEY$$$. "

Now, not having read the article, and the most recent paper not being up on the net yet, I have no comment specifically on that. I do note that the writer of said column, Lisa Bintrim, is presumably the same Lisa Bintrim who is Assistant Editor of Educational Leadership, the publication of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, "a community of educators" whose mission is "to advocate sound policies and share best practices to achieve the success [sic] of each learner." Achieving a learner's success through shared best practices--best shared practices?--is presumably not entirely the same thing as teaching a student.

The articles published in Educational Leadership are the sort of thing that drive one to homeschool, warning as they do against such evils as "defin[ing] teacher quality in terms of test scores " (tests bad) and "plac[ing] all the responsibility for student learning on teachers and schools" (it's not our fault they come out of school ignorant), and yearning to promote a "culture of collegiality" as well as a "collaborative professional development culture." With all this promotion of culture, one wonders if the Western culture incubated in Periclean Athens gets a look-in during the class day, but it isn't clear.

ASCD itself at the moment has a special focus on "the whole child," an expression I believe I just mocked in a post a few days ago. The raison d'etre of whole-child education, you see, is that "a democratic society demands more of its schools than producing graduates proficient in reading and math." And here I thought we were just aiming for that first thing, the proficient in reading and math bit. While ASCD assures us that "Parents ... support a whole-child approach to education," I believe I would settle for educating their brains.

In the face of such creaky jargonistic vapidities masquerading as help for teachers, the usual demand for yet more money for the public schools seems very small beer. But making that demand in a diocesan newspaper--a diocese that is simultaneously pressing parishioners to support the parochial and diocesan schools--is quite arguably another thing altogether. It's really not that long, historically speaking, since politicians and superintendents spoke quite frankly about the need for public schooling so as to make dirty little Catholic immigrant children into good clean Protestant Americans.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Yahmdallah said...

Great post!

And by the way, I'm steeling the phrase "creaky jargonistic vapidities" for my next punk band's name.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you. God Bless you. By the way, if we google the author of a column and find that she/he is affiliated with a group that promotes foolishness, is mentioning that fact considered an "ad hominem attack"? Or is it just evidence?

I think I've calmed down enough to go write my (really short) letter to the Catholic Spirit [Austin Diocese] now.

Have a happy meatless Friday in Lent.

7:27 AM  
Blogger The Opinionated Homeschooler said...

Well, I think when said author is (was?) on the masthead of said foolish organization's journal, and when that journal itself is the purveyor of profound foolishness, then the evidence of complicity in foolishness is sufficient to bring it up on a blog.

But that's just me.

3:56 PM  

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