Wasting our time on reform?


A fellow teacher wrote: I’m slowly coming to the conclusion that pedagogy lingo is both a bastardization of the English language AND mostly tangential to actual teaching. It just makes me angry.

Where do the answers lie to the crises in education today? How do we fix the system?


8 thoughts on “Wasting our time on reform?

  1. Well Sir! I just commented (recently) about the bastardization of “the” classic Bloom’s Taxonomy. Imagine the … of current … in education whom think they know how to organize educational outcomes (more appropriately) than the “scholars of past”? Well, since you ask; I do have a comprehensive reform strategy! Still a poor scholar (never sold out)–read 2/3 of my book “A Practitioners Guide to Teaching and Learning” (two e-books) @ http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/kennethfetterman
    I suggest that you read all that I have published (electronically), including my Blog posts @ http://kennethfetterman.wordpress.com
    Please JOIN ME IN AN EFFORT TO … Reform education (and teacher education). KEN
    Please approve my comments and follow my Blog (and/or sample–purchase my works published via smashwords.com)


  2. I have learned to understand Pedagogese, but I avoid speaking it. For the most part, its speakers are desperately attempting to conceal their inadequacies with lingo that is every bit as meaningless as it sounds.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 5690 Merlin Way
    Saint Cloud, Fl 34772

    The Animal School: A Fable by George Reaves

    Once upon a time the animals decided they must do something heroic to meet the problems of a “new world” so they organized a school. They had adopted an activity curriculum consisting of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals took all the subjects.

    The duck was excellent in swimming. In fact, better than his instructor. But he made only passing grades in flying and was very poor in running. Since he was slow in running, he had to stay after school and also drop swimming in order to practice running. This was kept up until his webbed feet were badly worn and he
    was only average in swimming. But average was acceptable in school so nobody worried about that, except the duck.

    The rabbit started at the top of the class in running but had a nervous breakdown because of so much makeup work in swimming.

    The squirrel was excellent in climbing until he developed frustration in the flying class where his teacher made him start from the ground up instead of the treetop down. He also developed a “charlie horse” from overexertion and then got a C in climbing and D in running.
    The eagle was a problem child and was disciplined severely. In the climbing class, he beat all the others to the top of the tree but insisted on using his own way to get there.

    At the end of the year, an abnormal eel that could swim exceeding well and also run, climb and fly a little had the highest average and was valedictorian.

    The prairie dogs stayed out of school and fought the tax levy because the administration would not add digging and burrowing to the curriculum. They apprenticed their children to a badger and later joined the groundhogs and gophers to start a successful private school.
    * * * *
    This little fable completely changed my views of teaching. We all, each of as individuals, have skills at which we excel and skills at which we, to use the vernacular, suck. And yet, all students were expected to excel in all skill areas.
    Suddenly I realized why two thirds of my classes were bored or potential discipline problems.
    One third were bored and potential discipline problems because they were skilled in my subject, and yet they had to wait for the other two thirds to continue.
    One third were bored and potential discipline problems because they were unskilled in my subject, were always lost, and couldn’t keep up with the rest of the class.
    The final third cruised along while wondering why the other two thirds were unhappy and causing problems.
    The traditional solution was to give additional work to both outlying groups. No matter what you call it, additional work feels like punishment to a teenager.
    We are wasting our time and money as well as doing our children, society, and taxpayers a disservice when we try to “improve” our educational system in the United States.

    Of Model T’s and Corvettes

    Over my thirty plus years in teaching, I have seen many “fixes” forced on our educational system. You have experienced them also, whether as a parent or a student. Do you remember: phonics, new math, and new science grants? I particularly remember in high school getting new science lab equipment one year, and the school district not being
    able to fund the program over the long term. I loved science, and it killed me to see all that lab equipment setting idle because federal funding was gone. Each of the programs above, and I would add the integration of technology, is like putting a Corvette engine in a Model T and expecting it to go ninety miles an hour.
    The car would destroy itself before it ever reached the the desired goal of ninety miles an hour. Isn’t that exactly what has happened to our educational system. The harder we have tried to make reach our goals the worse it has become. It’s time for educational revolution. The system can not be improved without these basic changes.


    STEP 1
    Make all education competency based; not based upon age or grade level.
    Currently, school is like a prison sentence without a chance of parole. Everyone does their twelve years, no less. I have seen schools where students have completed all the required courses and electives and still not be allowed to graduate until they have put in the whole twelve years.
    Every student should take every course at his own pace until he completes the competencies required by the state or national government or employers. They may be in beginning reading, advanced math and biology. They may be taking one course at a time or they may be taking several courses at once.
    There should be no age limit for people to begin or continue taking courses in public schools. If an eighty year old woman wants to study literature, she should be able to take the course. If a thirty year old man want to take book keeping or accounting for his small business, he should be able to. If a six year old is interested in rocketry, he should be able to study it.

    STEP 2
    Make school year around.
    The U.S. educational system is based on an agrarian society. Guess what? We haven’t been an agrarian society for decades if not centuries. Being based upon an agrarian society, we only have school nine months out of the year. Name me a business large, small, service, manufacturing or agricultural that lays off its workers and shuts down down its facilities for three months out of the year.
    We need to make the school calendar be three hundred and sixty-five days a year, and we need to make the facility available twenty four hours a day. When rooms are not being used for classes, they may be used by community organizations for a small fee to cover electric, janitorial and security.
    Students may attend as many days a year as they want.
    Teachers may teach as many days a year as they want. They would be compensated for the extra months they teach and wouldn’t need to find another job during breaks and the summer.
    Parents would be able to better plan their work schedules and child care.

    Step 3
    Make education technology based, not lecture based with technology augmentation. Now that we are competency based and school and teachers are available all year around, lets use technology. Technology will allow students to proceed at their own pace. Teaches will be able to serve as mentors to the learning process instead of lock stepping students of varied abilities and interest through a one size fits all curriculum.
    Stop wasting money on textbooks which are out of date before they are published. Go digital. With the money saved provide every student with a laptop or tablet. If you are worried about getting them back, charge a fee. For those students or parents that cannot afford to either buy or rent, have a business partner step up.
    Don’t buy technology. Lease it. It changes too rapidly; and will be too expensive to update.
    Use free technology from the internet like Kahn Academy and Next Vista for Learning.

    STEP 4
    Get parents, grandparents, the business community and the general public involved. Get everyone involved. Get civic organizations to use the school facilities. Get adults using the gym for basketball, volleyball, community dances. Everyone should know where the schools in their community are. Encourage everyone to come to school to get involved in courses whether their eight or eighty. Find out what people want to learn and provide them with the opportunity.

    Step 5
    Separate of state and federal education
    The states can keep their state schools, but there will be federal “charter” schools which adhere to common core principals.
    I have long heard about how the federal government should stay out of state issues. I agree wholeheartedly.
    The federal government would have the right to run federal charter schools any way it wanted.
    The states would have the right to run their state schools however they wanted.
    The federal government would fund their charter schools with federal tax dollars.
    The states could fund their schools however they wanted but without federal tax dollars.
    No state monies would be used to fund federal charter schools and no federal funds would be used to finance individual state public, private or state chartered schools.
    Parents would be able to choose whether to send their children to federal charter schools which were funded by federal tax dollars or state schools funded by state tax dollars. At last the hue and cry against big government involvement in education would be addressed. States could have all the charter schools they wanted. States could write whatever curriculum they wanted with or without evolution. The states could teach that climate change is not backed by science. States could once again manipulate who goes to what schools because the parents would have a choice.

    James Foos


    • In my humble opinion, education is an evolutionary process. It is about unfolding potential from within. External impetuses such as teaching is basically serving as semen in unfolding the potential within. Education as practiced is more about mind control and is not education. It stifles evolution more so than enhancing it. The problem goes way back when, into Greek rationalism and to the time of the Fall of Genesis (right around the time of the beginning of Egyptian and other ancient civilizations). Now, this is being said not in an all-or-nothing fashion, for there are aspects to living in which we need to learn the ways of our culture, etc. Unfolding the realization that a rattlesnake can bite and kill you is not something you want a child to unfold from within himself. You need to say, Don’t pet that thing, he will bite. But, to use a simple example, we can unfold a healthy body by healthy eating and activity. The evolution of potential within is thus in relationship to without. What education prepares our kids for is the workforce (if there will be one in the future given outsourcing and other activities to destroy the working classes),. Which brings me to another point: We of the labor classes (Eve as you will) need to begin telling Adam to take a hike….with Adam being the Man, the Corporation. As Jesus Christ says in the Gospel of Thomas, we need to bring forth the potential that is within us. Just my opinion.


  4. Just visited your site. I haven’t went in depth into it, yet So, in my ignorance of how deeply into the rabbit hole you have gone, I”m wondering if you have read the likes of Charles Eisenstein’s “The Ascent of Humanity: The Age of Separation, the Age of Reunion, and the Convergence of Crises that is Birthing the Transition?” He has also written Sacred Economics and A More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible.

    There is a movement under way that could be spelling major, foundational changes for humanity and this planet. The movement is overall silent and not so much in the public eye, for they are still deaf to it. But, it is happening. Anne Baring is another read you may want to research. Her
    “The Dream of the Cosmos: A Quest for the Soul” gets somewhat into this movement.

    I wonder if the planet isn’t reorganizing. Just as Lovelock in his Gaia Hypothesis states that that the planet in essence self-organizes life (or should I say life self-organizes and is Gaia); then there appears to be a networking that is occurring where there are synchronicities across the planet of people making movements away from our several centuries of western thought which is divisional and into a more ancient relational way of understanding the world.

    I’m writing off the cuff here, hope I”m making sense.


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