State of General Educ LO6712

Rol Fessenden (76234.3636@CompuServe.COM)
16 Apr 96 00:24:40 EDT

Replying to LO6699 --

Scott said,

As I indicated in other previous postings, and I will retain the personal
perspective here, I have always felt a victim of our schools. When I
reached 7th grade, there began a decline in my grades and I felt
increasingly aloof from academic studies and can think of no individual
teacher that really cared.

Teachers cared more about policing behavior (running in the halls, chewing
gum, slamming and mistreating locker doors) than connecting with and
educating individuals.

And while things are different today (teenage pregnancy, drugs & alcohol,
suicide and violence), I will warrant that my son feels the same
isolation. He has tested out over 140 and has gotten 2 successive F's in
Language Plus, the advanced placement English - project course. It's is
evident that he feels his teacher "hates" him and we get rebuffed in our
approaches to her -- getting the feeling from her that she is "defending
academic integrity" more than trying to reach my son.

Blame the student. Blame the system. But let's not try to make any
fundamental changes in the way we do things.

== end Quote ==

Maine is a small state, and we all know each other. As a consequence, I
had the opportunity to meet George Mitchell when he was about to retire
from the Senate. During a discussion of educational reform, he said, the
time for fundamental change in education has not yet come. I rebelled
against hearing that, but after months of reflection, I had to admit that
he was right.

The health system will change now over the next few years because it is
now in a state of crisis. It has no choice but to change. Back when
Muskie was our Senator, environmental issues were central to him and to
Mainers. Those issues -- at least for us -- reached a point where change
had to occur because we considered ourselves in a state of crisis.

Whether we like it or not, education is not yet in a state of crisis, and
therefore is not going to undergo fundamental change in the near future.
Mitchell was saying that the political and social forces that cause change
to occur in an organization as fundamental as education were not yet
strong enough, not yet broadly enough perceived, not yet ripe for the
needed change. I do not like saying this, but I think it is true.

There is a time for change to occur, and it requires a broad sense from
the population at large that change is necessary. None of the current
indicators show that to be the case. Parents perceive education to be
mediocre, but 'not in my kids' school.' They perceive that it is
irrelevant, but 'not in my school'. They perceive that it does not
provide kids what they need for life -- let alone for business -- but not
in my school. We will not be ready for change in education until parents,
citizens, governance, and even educators agree that yes, all those are
true in my school as well.


Rol Fessenden LL Bean, Inc.

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