Saturday, January 19, 2008

Take This "Great Educational Thinking" Multiple Choice Question :)

Question: Which of the following quotes does not belong in this set?
Select the letter of the quote below that does not belong with the others as your answer. Using a number 2 pencil carefully fill in the circle next to the letter that corresponds to your answer!

A) The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled. Plutarch- Greek historian, scholar, biographer, and essayist

B) Do not train children to learning by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each. Plato - Greek philosopher

C) There is no purpose to go to high school if the function of high school is not to complete it successfully! Joel Klein – Current Chancellor, New York City Department of Education

D) In the first place God made idiots. This was for practice. Then he made school boards. Mark Twain - American writer

Answer Key:

If you chose answer "C" you are right! Among many other pieces of evidence revealed since he has been in charge of the most important school system in the U.S., Joel Klein, in announcing a new policy to prevent 8th graders who have not demonstrated adequate test scores from entering high school, has revealed a personal approach to education that runs contrary to all important thinking on motivating students for successful learning.

See the recent New York Times article from which this quote is taken “Extending Requirement to Advance in School” (January 18, 2008):

In retaining these students what is revealed is an understanding on the part of the administration that only way to motivate students is either with carrot or stick, in this case the very heavy stick of being left back to repeat the 8th grade until test scores indicate that success in high school is guaranteed. Unfortunately, almost all of the extensive bodies of studies on this pracitce over the decades have shown that its effects are negative - rendering the retainees as social pariahs, branding them as failures, destroying any shreds of confidence as learners that may remain, and increasing their inability to cope with school work by having them repeat curriclum and activities they have already failed at without offering any variation or new approach to the experience.

Follow up question (for extra credit)

Q: Will this policy encourage students to work harder and learn better, allowing them to enter high school for future success? - OR - Will it result in a new phenomenon, massive dropping out from Middle School by students who have been stuck in the 8th grade for years?

A: The effect of this policy will not be understood for a number of years, by which time Mr. Klein will likely have moved on from his current post.

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