Now one hundred days of protest is some serious field trip out of classroom mental work– and this exercise in the freedom to speak one’s mind with one’s feet apparently will not end with the conclusion of the course term. in Quebec. Apparently Canadian students enjoy their affordable education so much they’re willing to fight for it with zeal and determination. Bill 78 is an effort to shut down the student strike protests against the 75 % hikes in tuition. Bill 78 in effect demands that people submit to the dictates of the state and refrain from protesting en mass or face serious fines (1,000 to 25,000 dollars) and arrest. Wearing a mask could get you 10 years in prison. OOOOO what do the elected official fear from the mask wearers? Damn that film V for Vendetta for its mask wearing protestors for popularizing those masks which scares the hell out of totalitarians. Every effort to ban and il-legalize the masks serves as a red flag marker as to who is who on the battlefield for mind control. Some Canadians I’ve chatted with recently declare Bill 78 is the death knoll for Premier Jean Charest and his ’liberal’ party. Take note–these days the world ‘liberal’ has vastly different meanings depending on where, who, when–it’s all about context.
If you’re wondering what’s with the red square — little red felt squares are worn by the students and their supporters in Quebec. Yes, I am in solidarity with anyone who believes quality education should be available to everyone. I would like ALL education to be ‘free of charge’ because the mind is the most vital frontier and no one should be denied the opportunity to learn–ever. Can you imagine a world in which our monetary and other ‘resources’ are focused on education that enables humans to actualize their imaginative creative intellectual potential –instead of focused on making war, engaging in genocide and destruction of anyone some folks consider a threat to their bastions of power and control? I suspect if we’d been enabling the flourishing of the mind we might not have sown the seeds of our destruction via the pollution of our own habitat. Or at least I hope we would not have done so. One never knows what course intellectual freedom might embark upon. Hell, some of the great scientific minds created the atom bomb–and enabled it to be ‘used.’ So, yes, I admit there are such dilemmas. Yet, if there’d not been a military industrial complex running rampant then the course of human history would be —-???? We don’t quite know do we? Plenty of Science Fiction authors have explored alternative realities. I suspect this is one reason the genre threatens mainstream fiction writers — because it explores more than the status quo of possibilities and pushes the imagination into uncharted waters.
A few fundamental basics regarding quality education to consider. Oh yes, all of this comes from experiencing what ‘works’ in a teaching environment. This is NOT speculation:
Optimum student class size–14 students. This is not a secret number. It’s been shown that a student teacher ratio of 14 to 1 produces major benefits.
No standardized tests. They’re just money makers for the corporate testing business and serve no other purpose than to generate profits. They’re useless for gauging real mastery of material. Ability to properly employ and discuss material in useful and creative ways reveals having learned a subject.
No corporate produced textbooks. The textbook industry is another huge money-maker that enables mass indoctrination and manipulation of information. Guess why Americans don’t know much about HISTORY beyond what someone decided they ought to know to stay malleable.
No useless grades. Grades do little more than serve as carrots on sticks. Children have been paid to get good grades in research studies. The little student research rats behave just as one might expect–they produce only as long as they’re PAID. No more funding and they cease putting forth effort for grades. That reveals nothing good about carrots or the educational system that fails to incline children to be invested in their own learning.
As for uniforms–who gives a damn what you’re wearing if you’re not engaged in the act of discovery. Uniforms might ease some social issues in some contexts but they cannot improve a child’s learning experience. Some parents like uniforms because of how easy they make “clothing issues”. Well, if clothing issues are the main concern something is seriously skewed at the core. Uniforms are just another money-maker for those businesses that produce them.
Discovered a common thread here regarding the involvement of ‘Business’ in education? Business has NO place in education. It does not foster engagement in the act of discovery. Businesses exist for profit margins and selling products–NOT for fostering the critical thinking skills of human beings.
As for “teachers” in education. It’s a tough job these days to be a teacher anywhere. The pedagogy for classrooms has clearly failed under the current system of operations in the public sector. Education is not a ‘service’ industry where just punching a time clock is enough. People’s minds are not like car parts on conveyor belts waiting for assembly. Lecturing to the ’drones’ does nothing but leave all children behind–far far behind. To teach is to lay aside ego and engage people – not all of whom one ‘likes’– in order to educate their imaginations so that they are active participants in the world rather than factory robots. This is not easy nor for the faint of heart. “Houston, we’ve got a problem.” No shit.
Information regarding Bill 78 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_78
Visit Democracy Now! http://www.democracynow.org/ for coverage of the student protests. They had a good feature piece today (Friday May 25, 2012). http://www.democracynow.org/2012/5/25/maple_spring_nearly_1_000_arrested
The Educated Imagination website dedicated to Northrop Frye http://fryeblog.blog.lib.mcmaster.ca/ O my, Frye was a Canadian?? Hehehe, see this post is ‘connected’ …..
And Northrop Frye, The Educated Imagination http://northropfrye-theeducatedimagination.blogspot.com/
Nothing is perfect–but there are much better ways to educate than are currently employed en mass in the United States. I think some Americans have figured out enough to know that closing 60 schools in Philadelphia is not a great idea. http://www.democracynow.org/2012/5/25/whos_killing_philly_public_schools_daniel
How is your imagination today? Please do share your thoughts if you’re so inclined. No rulers for knuckle bashing nor ink pens held at the ready for grammar put downs in this blogcasa comment section. Anyone have a positive educational experience to share? Hmm? Horror stories also are ‘welcome’. Is your school under siege? Are you a teacher wondering what the hell has gone so horribly wrong? Are you a lucky teacher in a great supportive environment with eager students?