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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Public Education Stories of Note

In the category of "Things that Don't Surprise Me Any Longer in Public Education," the richest guy in China, Jack Ma of Alibaba fame, is stepping down from his company and going to focus on public education.

What makes this story different?   For one, Mr. Ma WAS a public school teacher.  That certainly gives him more of a voice of authority than say, Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates.  According to the Times:

The announcement was made on Teacher’s Day, an annual event in China that emphasizes education.

From Inc.:
U.S. society embraces a mythology of the self-made person. Come from nothing, the hero or heroine creates something great, facing all adversity alone, and ultimately conquers. Except that's never how it works.
Ma put forth this statement of three intertwining principles in his resignation letter (and it echoes what President Obama has said as well):
  • You can't do everything by yourself,
  • you won't last forever, and 
  • for real success, your undertaking should be able to continue without you.
From the Times:
In 2014, he created the Jack Ma Foundation, which has worked to improve education in rural China. Mr. Ma’s Weibo social media handle is “spokesman for village teachers — Jack Ma.” Within Alibaba, he is known and referred to as “Teacher Ma.”
 That's some good news in public education.  Now some bad news (from Texas, no surprise there) via News and Guts:
The Texas State Board of Education, the governing body of education curriculum in the Lone Star State has decided students in public schools don’t need to learn about Hillary Clinton.  The first woman nominated for President of the United States didn’t make the cut.  Secretary Clinton has been eliminated from the history curriculum.

To note, of course, Hillary Clinton is not the first woman to run for president but the first one from a major party.

But Hillary is not alone.  Students in Texas will no longer be required to learn about Republican Barry Goldwater either, according to the Austin American Statesman, the “first ethnically Jewish presidential candidate from a major party and is considered the progenitor of the modern conservative movement.” Adios Barry!
Also, Helen Keller.

You could argue that history is ever-changing and grows (by the day, no less).  But we are a young republic so it could be argued that we could continue to keep much of its history in what we teach in school.  I might ditch Barry Goldwater (even though I am from Arizona) but Hillary and Helen are important. Thoughts?

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