Sunday, February 10, 2008

Educating a Democracy

"A distinguishing characteristic of our nation — and a great strength — is the development of our institutions within the concept of individual worth and dignity. Our schools are among the guardians of that principle. Consequently . . . and deliberately their control and support throughout our history have been — and are — a state and local responsibility. . . . Thus was established a fundamental element of the American public school system — local direction by boards of education responsible immediately to the parents of children. Diffusion of authority among tens of thousands of school districts is a safeguard against centralized control and abuse of the educational system that must be maintained. We believe that to take away the responsibility of communities and states in educating our children is to undermine not only a basic element of our freedoms but a basic right of our citizens. "

~ President Dwight D. Eisenhower

"We have been awash in accountability and standardization for a very long time. What we are missing is precisely the qualities that the last big wave of reform was intended to respond to: teachers, kids, and families who don’t know each other or each other’s work and don’t take responsibility for it. We are missing communities built around their own articulated and public standards and ready to show them off to others."

~ Deborah Meier - Education a Democracy - Standards & the Future of Public Education

Meier's Six Alternative Assumptions to High Stakes Testing

Deborah Meier Homepage

Agree or disagree with Meier?

1 comment:

Harold said...

Jim - After reading the links to this first reaction is that we seem to be going away from the historical foundations and intent of our founders when it comes to education. We are heading towards standardization and centralization of curriculum and educational policy. Is this the direction that our forebearers foresaw and were concerned about?

Is this how they foresaw, the decline of democracy - government taking control of the education of our children? Our present leaders believe they have our students best interests at heart by having teachers teach to standards (that are becoming more nationally based than local) and to make funding more equitable for all students.

It is something to think about as we become more centralized educationally. In the future will all of our leaders have individual rights and liberties as rights or are they going to be taught as priveleges (a big difference).

Our forefathers were concerned about too much government control and didn't want government to control education especially, but where are we headed? This blog brings up the other side of the story that needs to be addressed as we head down this road towards government centralization/standardization of education.

Good food for thought in today's climate. Thank you -- Harold