---------- > From: Michael Paul Goldenberg <email@example.com> > To: firstname.lastname@example.org > Subject: Re: kipp schools and the summertime > Date: Thursday, August 17, 2000 06:53 snip > > The article about summer and the poor seems to have omitted a rather crucial > bit of information: WHY aren't these kids reading? Could it have anything to > do with their having to WORK all summer? yes but not such an important factor at age 4.
Funny how poverty can make kids > need to do that. And I doubt that certain "liberal Democrats" on this list > would advocate expensive programs to change that situation. After all, any > program that treats certain groups of people differently because of their > disadvantages is racist, isn't it? > > Having studied martial arts myself, I'm not at all satisfied with your > analogy. Training muscles to react without the intervention of the brain is > very much the point of a great deal of physical training (I'm sure there are > similar aspects to learning scales on a piano).
But the muscles don't react without intervention of the brain! The best studied example is fMRI studies of pro golfer brains. A pro golfer's brain fMRI while he thinks about a good swing is nearly indistinguishable from the execution. Pros can 'run the program' without connecting the servo loops. It would be more accurate to say 'Training muscles to react without the conscious intervention ..."
Rote appears to be the ONLY > way to do that, though for all I know, there are modifications of that > approach that work. But for intellectual activities I remain highly > skeptical that rote and drill are the way to conduct CLASSROOM education. > And that's an argument that we've had here before, to little end. > > I saw the tail end of the 60 MINUTES piece on Kipp and was particularly > dismayed by the robotic communication between the staff and the students. It > reminded me all too much of the empty spouting of slogans and formulaic > 'apologies' that students at my previous school were expected to give in > order to be allowed back into class after acting up or acting out. After a > few months of hearing this nonsense, I surprised both kids and my principal > by asking, "What in your behavior over this year would possibly make me > believe a word you just said?" I don't find that kind of militaristic stuff > even slightly impressive and the Kipp slogans and structured expressions of > 'remorse' and 'contrition' are no more real. > > Also, try to remember that 'strategy' doesn't have much to do with learning; > it's not a contest or a competition. At least, not in my book. But I think > we disagree on that. > > If ten citations (memorized or looked up) were sufficient, one might expect > that Alfie Kohn's books would be revolutionizing the thinking of the members > of this list. Of course, they'd have to read them, but open-minded people of > intellectual honesty and courage wouldn't opine upon something they'd not > read, would they? > > > > > > > >> Here's an example of what we're supposed to see as a positive step: > > "Parents > >> sign contracts enumerating daunting demands -- if they slip up, their > >> children can be punished." > >> > > > > I send my kids to a private school. Every year, the entire family has to > > sign a contract acknowledging that enrollment is for the current year only. > > Everyone has to agree that dismissal from the school may be done at any > > time for either academics or ethics. Every year parents are expected to > > cover the code of ethics with their children point by point. Dismissals > > for behavior problems are rare, <1%. Dismissals for academic reasons are > > even rarer - the school goes above and beyond the normal call of duty to > > help stragglers. > > I don't have a problem with holding parents accountable for THEIR behaviors. > How does holding the kids accountable for their PARENTS' behaviors serve the > children? The sins of the fathers, indeed! How Biblical. > > > > It doesn't have to be a basis. But as long as the longitudinal data show a > > substantial and continuous improvement over comparison populations, the > > method merits observation and to some extent emulation. > > It's not that simple, Ray. Data doesn't speak for itself. In the rather > imprecise social 'sciences' it's more than a little dangerous to forget > that. > > > > > >> Not only do I find the kind of teaching this > >> school is based upon repugnant and insulting to the intelligence of its > >> staff and students alike, > > > > Do you have special knowledge that rote drill is the ONLY method used at > > Kipp? Do you have knowledge of some performance measure (physical, > > intelligence, math achievement, reading achievement, artistic, OR > > emotional) on the population in question that shows Kipp is less successful > > than a comparison population? > > Special knowledge? No, just what they promote on their the 'Net and in the > media. It would appear to be something they're awfully proud of. And a > little bird tells me that their math curriculum of choice is [surprise!] > Saxon. Always the one I look towards for promoting independent thinking and > non-rote teaching. > > > > > >> but I find it outrageous that this model is being > >> used, as Alfie Kohn has already pointed out regarding other > > "back-to-basics" > >> schools, for "those" kinds of kids - the urban poor. Chester Finn, who > > sings > >> the praises of this school and its ilk in the TIMES article, sent his > >> daughter to Exeter. I'm sure his GRANDCHILDREN will attend a Kipp > > Academy. > > > > I doubt that. I read thousands of books outside of school in K-12. My 8 > > year old read about 60,000 pages over the last year (about 150 books this > > summer alone.) We discuss the difficulties and merits of raising children. > > I hope that I am imparting the ability to give the same joy of learning to > > his own children. The question here is how to break the other cycle: an > > absence of home centered learning. I have serious, but not complete, > > doubts that public or private schools can provide a viable substitute. > > Sure schools are part of education, but they are not the whole thing (with > > the exception of that complete abdication: boarding school.) > > > > > If your doubt is about Finn's grandkids, I think my sarcastic comment would > indicate agreement. > > Thousands of books? At an average of two per week, which seems a tad > generous based on my own n = 1, that would work out to 1,352 books in > thirteen years. One hundred fifty books in about six weeks? No; June + July + part of August ~ 10 weeks The 750 pages of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire took 9 hours for example.
That's, um, > impressive. That would appear to project to about 1,300 books a year. more like 10/week when school is in session.
> Gail Englert's approval and you might have more to kvell over. And, again, > I'd like to see where I was vicious in my last post, at least in your > direction.
In your response of 8/15/00 at 1624 to my post of Tue, 15 Aug. 2000 06:43:04 you wrote:
"They do NOT sit on their asses waiting for "lightening to strike" or for kids to "re-invent the wheel"; these are parodies of what reform instruction calls for.
"As a bad example, just continue to assume that most non-traditional teachers are lazy and stupid, or evil, or completely in the power of racist educationist professors who've suckered them into a mode of instruction bent on warping fragile little minds
and "I wish the folks who yell so damned loud here against reform would:
A) read some of the literature instead of parodying what they fantasize it to say
and Of course, there will be the usual blather from the usual quarters about this post, written by people who, for the most part, will NOT do the requisite homework/research/reading/viewing but will nonetheless spout what they believe are definitive, decimating opinions on it all. To them I have nothing to say.
I think that is a pretty extreme response to my rather innocuous post. I was simply saying once again that there is a middle ground.