Education Reform LO9661

Rol Fessenden (76234.3636@CompuServe.COM)
31 Aug 96 22:46:51 EDT

Replying to LO9617 --

Marion says,

In my view, we're not just failing poor kids. We're failing all
kids. And my "we're" includes both domestic and foreign educational
systems. Schooling is primarily about the curriculum, and our curricula:

- Fail to disclose the systemic nature of human experience,
- Fail to relate to students' immediate experience in ways they
understand, can explain, and consider important,
- Fail to constantly involve students in a full range of thought
- Fail to provide students with criteria for determining the
relative importance of various kinds of knowledge,
- Fail to put students in direct contact with reality (emphasizing
instead verbal, paper, electronic, and other mediated, "secondhand" versions),
- Fail to encompass all knowledge (including vast areas arguably
more important than those chosen for study),
- Fail to help students build single, logically integrated
conceptual structures for organizing and relating everything they know,
- Fail to adapt to change,
- Fail to disclose that the ability to create new knowledge is more
important than the mental storing of existing knowledge.
- Fail to articulate an overarching goal that students know,
understand, and accept, and clearly relate all instructional activity to
that goal.

== end quote ==

By and large, I think Marion's opinion has merit. My only difference is the
'practical' one -- if anything involving educational reform can be said to be
practical -- that moving every single child's educational standard to that of
today's best-taught children is a desirable, easily-understood, politically
relevant, intuitively obvious goal. Furthermore, it would result in a 2-3 fold
improvement in the educational quality of our children, and that in turn might
provide additional impetus for the kinds of reforms Marion envisions.

In addition, the kinds of curricula Marion describes, while they may exist
today, are not widely held to be the 'way to go' so to speak. We need more time
to build momentum around this curriculum or curriculum framework. From what I
have seen, these kinds of curricula are still not complete, either, so we also
need time to bring them to a finer state of readiness. They are still in a
state of development, and they need testing to determine their impact. In Maine
we are attempting to create such a curriculum, but it is a tough go. The
reality is, most adults don't understand the bullet points Marion makes, so how
are we to successfully teach them to children? Look at the level of
disagreement on this forum, as an example.

My opinion is that this is the way to go, but I don't see it as the highest
priority. For now.


Rol Fessenden LL Bean, Inc.

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