Friday, March 15, 2013

More Food for Education Thought

Fran Lebowitz in an interview with Mirabella in 1994:

When asked what she would do as President she said:

I would be the education dictator.  First, I would federalize the public school system.  

(She was speaking of getting kids into educational setting as early as possible.)

I would make them wear uniforms.  I think there's nothing more unattractive than fashion-consciousness in children.  

I would teach the 3Rs, give or take arithmetic.  I'd also teach them how to eat.  People will think table manners are a stupid thing to talk about if you're running the world, but civility is, after all, the key to civilization.  

It used to be that school reinforced things that you heard fifty thousand times at home.  

From What I've Learned: Neil Young

Our education system basically strives for normal - which is too bad.  Sometimes the exceptional is classified as abnormal and pushed aside.  (Note: all of his children have some kind of disability.)


What I've Learning: Tom Petty

I feel sorry for kids these days.  They get so much homework.  Remember the days when we put a belt around our two books and carried them home?  Now they're dragging a suitcase.  They have school all day, then homework from six until eleven. There's no time left to be creative.  The hardest part for me is when my thirteen-year-old is complaining about the workload.  I agree with him.  I'm supposed to be responsible and support the teacher.  But it's like, "You're right, son.  This is BS."  

Matt Damon, two years ago at a Save our Schools rally (bold his):

I had incredible teachers. As I look at my life today, the things I value most about myself -- my imagination, my love of acting, my passion for writing, my love of learning, my curiosity -- all come from how I was parented and taught.

And none of these qualities that I've just mentioned -- none of these qualities that I prize so deeply, that have brought me so much joy, that have brought me so much professional success -- none of these qualities that make me who I am ... can be tested.

My teachers were free to approach me and every other kid in that classroom like an individual puzzle. They took so much care in figuring out who we were and how to best make the lessons resonate with each of us. They were empowered to unlock our potential. They were allowed to be teachers.

Now don't get me wrong. I did have a brush with standardized tests at one point. I remember because my mom went to the principal's office and said, 'My kid ain't taking that. It's stupid, it won't tell you anything and it'll just make him nervous.' That was in the '70s when you could talk like that.

This has been a horrible decade for teachers. I can't imagine how demoralized you must feel. But I came here today to deliver an important message to you: As I get older, I appreciate more and more the teachers that I had growing up. And I'm not alone. There are millions of people just like me. 

 So the next time you're feeling down, or exhausted, or unappreciated, or at the end of your rope; the next time you turn on the TV and see yourself called "overpaid;" the next time you encounter some simple-minded, punitive policy that's been driven into your life by some corporate reformer who has literally never taught anyone anything. ... Please know that there are millions of us behind you. You have an army of regular people standing right behind you, and our appreciation for what you do is so deeply felt. We love you, we thank you and we will always have your back.

6 comments:

Words of Wisdom on Ed Reform said...

come up with your own ideas Melissa Westbrook and maybe people will take Seriously!!

Words of Wisdom on grammar said...

@ Words of Wisdom on Ed Reform:

Your apparent inability to follow basic rules of grammar completely defeats your lame attempt at labasting Ms. Westbrook.

Let's correct:

*The "C" in "come" should be capitalized. The first word of a sentence is always capitalized.

*You are missing an object. The word "you" should be inserted as the second-to-last word in your sentence. The end of your sentence should then read "...maybe people will take YOU seriously" [missing word in all caps for effect--the word would normally not be capitalized]

*The word "Seriously" should not be capitalized. In American English, only proper names and the first word of a sentence are capitalized.

*You use an unneccessary second exclaimation point at the end of your sentence. Four out of five grammaticians would argue that even the first was unnecessary, but all five would agree that the second is just plain wrong.

I'm afraid you receive an F for this attempt. Please revise and resubmit.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I often put up OTHER people's thoughts to kick-start a conversation about the nature of education (or at least get people thinking).

Grammar, this person is easy to spot precisely for the errors you point out. The writer uses different monikers but you can always tell it's him by the writing. I never take anything he says seriously.

Anonymous said...

For a non-Seattlite, I like this blog. Great writings I've never seen from Petty, Damon, and the lesser known Whelan.

Thank you Melissa and Charlie for hosting this great site.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's C. Korsmo...

Suein ZenField

Anonymous said...

Doubtful, Sue in. When she wasn't having a horrible childhood, she was lucking out on a good education. Evidently it was all luck, though, no great teachers working steadily and passionately to educate her and her peers. No community steadily investing in public schools accountable to the community parents and taxpayers.

Suezout in Left Field