General Crosstalk - A Spot for the Odd Comment

Do you have a conversation topic that doesn't seem to fit any of the other conversations? Here is where we discuss ANYTHING about Joseph Campbell, comparative mythology, and more!

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Neoplato
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Post by Neoplato » Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:12 pm

Thanks Clemsy!
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
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Clemsy
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Post by Clemsy » Sat Mar 20, 2010 2:23 pm

"As it happens, Central Falls High School had seen consistent improvement over the past two years. Only last year, the state commissioner sent in a team to look at the school and commended its improvements.

It noted the school had been burdened by frequently changing programs and leadership. With more support from the district and the state, this improvement might have continued.

Instead, the school was given a death warrant. Will it be replaced by a better school? Who knows? Will excellent teachers flock to Central Falls to replace their fired colleagues? Or will it be staffed by inexperienced college graduates who commit to stay at the school for two years? Will non-English-speaking students start speaking English because their teachers were fired? Will children come to school ready to learn because their teachers were fired?

"It would be good if our nation's education leaders recognized that teachers are not solely responsible for student test scores. Other influences matter, including the students' effort, the family's encouragement, the effects of popular culture, and the influence of poverty.

A blogger called 'Mrs. Mimi' wrote the other day that we fire teachers because 'we can't fire poverty.' Since we can't fire poverty, we can't fire students and we can't fire families, all that is left is to fire teachers.

"This strategy of closing schools and firing the teachers is mean and punitive. And it is ultimately pointless. It solves no problem."

— Diane Ravitch, The Huffington Post
Diane Ravitch was appointed to public office (United States Assistant Secretary of Education) by both G.W. Bush and Clinton. She initially supported No Child Left Behind... but was struck by lightening on the road to Damascus. Hers is a voice of reason in a sea of media blather. Read the review of her book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, HERE.
“The fundamentals of good education are to be found in the classroom, the home, the community, and the culture, but reformers in our time continue to look for shortcuts and quick answers. Untethered to any genuine philosophy of education, our current reforms will disappoint us, as others have in the past.” ~Ravitch
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Clemsy
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
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Post by S_Watson » Sat Mar 20, 2010 3:50 pm

Clemsy, based on what you've written and cited of Ravitch, I think she's doing great work.

However - as you know me to be an arrant contrarian (as all the best educators are? ;-), I perceive a potential internal contradiction in the following:
“The fundamentals of good education are to be found in the classroom, the home, the community, and the culture, but reformers in our time continue to look for shortcuts and quick answers. Untethered to any genuine philosophy of education, our current reforms will disappoint us, as others have in the past.” ~Ravitch
...and the POTENTIAL internal contradiction I see in the above, is that ANY government or hegemonic regime can claim (often with good reason) to have a "genuine philosophy of education". The Nazis and Communists did, and the education systems of their states were in fact extremely effective, especially in practical technological ways.

Therefore my personal bias is for the state to have as little to do with education as possible. But then this leads to the next question: WHO FUNDS IT? Well, for many centuries, in Europe, it was the Church who funded education (especially university education.) And we know that had both good and bad results, but on balance I think the results were more good than bad, especially back in the Dark Ages when the states (ie, organised crime) were led by ignorant thugs...

...a condition NOT SO DIFFERENT from what America is becoming today? Hmmm....

....well I have no simple answer to this dilemma. History never exactly repeats itself, but it DOES "rhyme" as Mark Twain observed. In other words, some historical themes do repeat themselves, in new ways. Thus, as I believe the West (and all the World) has recently begun a PARTIAL "New Dark Age", I think there is, or ought to be, a calling and vocation for PERSONAL poets and dreamers - yes "mythologists" of various kinds, INCLUDING some who profess traditional religions (Christianity AND Islam AND Buddhism etc) as well as those who profess and teach what Campbell called "Creative Mythology", to displace and take over the roles of the currently state-authorised social-engineers in both primary and higher education.

In my limitedly-informed opinion, Clemsy is one. So are many Catholic Priests and Nuns, most of whom are NOT pedophiles (same ratio as secular teachers.) And so are many devout Muslim educators, et al. On that note, I will add, that I would prefer for my Christian daughter to be educated by brilliant and open-minded Muslims rather than by blinkered nominal "Christians" whose main role is to serve the state....

...and as a symbolic coda to that desire, I will mention that when I visited the mostly-Muslim - but democratic and religiously heterodox - country of Indonesia (I was in Java) - I especially enjoyed how the (majority) Muslims were FREE to broadcast their Muslim prayers in public during Ramadan, in ways that were outlawed in China where I had recently lived. (Meanwhile I saw Catholic nuns walking down the street in their habits, as they could NOT do in anti-religious China.) In that light, I would rather see my CHRISTIAN daughter educated by the best kinds of MUSLIMS (tolerant ones), than by agents of any strictly secular state who don't believe in any god(s) at all.
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Clemsy
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Post by Clemsy » Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:49 pm

Watson, your idea is an interesting one. However, the cast of characters, including (especially?) myself, you suggest would create a firestorm of protest from all ends of the spectrum.

That makes it either a really bad idea or sheer genius.

Alas, the dilemma is that of Plato's philosopher king: Only a philosopher king can solve the society's ills, but it takes an enlightened society to produce one. Round and round we go.
Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day. ~Jefferson
As much as the politician's touch on education inevitably turns it into indoctrination, many of us still consider our mission to teach students how to think, not what to think. (Be that as it may, I certainly don't understand the political right's complaint about educational liberalism. If the plan was to liberalize the country, it's been an abysmal failure. So maybe there isn't a grande Marxist conspiracy.)

The educational system in America is obsolete. The structure requires radical change, not the personnel.
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
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Clemsy
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Post by Clemsy » Sun Mar 21, 2010 1:50 pm

Oh, btw, happy spring everybody.
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
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nandu
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Post by nandu » Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:45 am

Hello everyone!

Returned back today after a week-long holiday in Egypt. It was a package tour, so things were a little hectic, but we still managed to capture a little of the flavour of Egypt. It's a country where myth is still alive, and the stones speak to you across the centuries. For me, it was a long-awaited dream come true.

All part of following my bliss...

Nandu.
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu
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Post by Cindy B. » Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:59 am

I'm jealous, Nandu, very cool. I'm glad to hear that you made it back safely, too. 8)

Cindy
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
Andreas
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Post by Andreas » Sat Mar 27, 2010 8:19 pm

Oh nice!!! Next trip is in Egypt.. I am in instabul right now and having a good time, I went almost everywhere in Instabul but Aya Sophia was something that really grasped my attention. Anyway cool stuff.
“To live is enough.” ― Shunryu Suzuki
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Nermin
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Post by Nermin » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:16 am

Andreas wrote:Oh nice!!! Next trip is in Egypt.. I am in instabul right now and having a good time, I went almost everywhere in Instabul but Aya Sophia was something that really grasped my attention. Anyway cool stuff.
Andreas,
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you're still in Turkey.
I know people living very near to Istanbul and who'll be
only too glad to meet you to talk about myths :)
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Post by Andreas » Wed Mar 31, 2010 8:25 am

Ahh thanks very much Nermin. A bit late now since my trip is over and I came back to my country. Will make a mental note though if I ever go back and I will someday because I had an awesome time. :)
“To live is enough.” ― Shunryu Suzuki
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Post by Cindy B. » Wed Mar 31, 2010 10:14 pm

I'm jealous, Andreas. Both you and Nandu just took really cool trips. Glad to hear that you made it home safely. 8)

Cindy
If the path before you is clear, you’re probably on someone else’s. --Jung
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Post by Neoplato » Thu Apr 01, 2010 4:37 pm

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! :wink:
Infinite moment, grants freedom of winter death, allows life to dawn.
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Clemsy
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Post by Clemsy » Wed Apr 07, 2010 12:33 pm

Posts concerning the NY Times article on fiction and brain science have been split to their own thread titled Fiction and Brain Science.
Give me stories before I go mad! ~Andreas
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Nermin
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Post by Nermin » Mon Apr 12, 2010 11:15 pm

Anyone willing to try Opera's new browser 10.51 Beta?
http://www.opera.com/browser/download/
honjaku
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Post by honjaku » Fri Apr 16, 2010 4:18 am

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Last edited by honjaku on Wed Mar 02, 2011 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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