Saturday, October 23, 2010

School Prayer by a 15-year old

The following is a school prayer making the rounds on the Internet. A 15-year old student from Arizona is said to have written it.

Now I sit me down in school

Where praying is against the rule

For this great nation under God

Finds mention of Him very odd.

If scripture now the class recites,

It violates the Bill of Rights.

And anytime my head I bow

Becomes a Federal matter now.

Our hair can be purple, orange or green,

That's no offense; it's a freedom scene..

The law is specific, the law is precise.

Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice.

For praying in a public hall

Might offend someone with no faith at all..

In silence alone we must meditate,

God's name is prohibited by the state.

We're allowed to cuss and dress like freaks,

And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks...

They've outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible.

To quote the Good Book makes me liable.

We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen,

And the 'unwed daddy,' our Senior King.

It's 'inappropriate' to teach right from wrong,

We're taught that such 'judgments' do not belong..

We can get our condoms and birth controls,

Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles..But 
the Ten Commandments are not allowed, 
No word of God must reach this crowd.

It's scary here I must confess,

When chaos reigns the school's a mess.

So, Lord, this silent plea I make:

Should I be shot; My soul please take!


Red Skelton on the Pledge of Allegiance- Red Skelton Show 1969

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

We Need a Transformation in Education – Not Reform

“Chase down your passion like it’s the last bus of the night.”

- Terri Guillemets

“Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve.”

- Roger Lewin

“Every education system in the world is being reformed at the moment and it’s not enough. Reform is no use anymore because that’s simply improving a broken model.”

- Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the Learning Revolution

In education, we are heading in the wrong direction.

Sir Ken Robinson states in his 2008 Changing Paradigms talk at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce (RSA), that there are two reasons every country on Earth is trying to reform public education.

1. Economics - How do we educate our children to take our place in the economies of the 21st century?

2. Cultural – How do we educate our children so that they have a sense of cultural identity while being a part of the process of globalization?

Unfortunately, he notes, they are doing it with what was done in the past and not relevant to our current needs.

Sir Ken Robinson summarizes that our current system of education was designed and conceived and structured for a different age.

According to Robinson, it was conceived in the intellectual culture of the Enlightenment and in the economic circumstances of the Industrial Revolution. Education is modeled on the interests of Industrialization and in the image of it.

He states that schools are still organized on factory lines.

Ringing bells

Separate facilities

Separate subjects

Educates children by batches

He states, in view of the growth in standardized testing and standardized curricula, public education is about forcing conformity and standardization on children.

I agree. And I believe that is a bad thing for our future.

Our current juggernaut waddle of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Race to the Top (RTTT) is heading us toward a national test based on a national curriculum and killing what we need more in 21st century education – creativity and individualized instruction. This current politically bipartisan approach to education will lead to further teaching to the test, narrowing of the curriculum, pacing guides, and forced conformity on teachers and students.

Our current education system is not working. The current reforms will make matters worse.

I believe that the federal take over of education is the true intent of our current reform movement. The unintended consequences of these reforms will be increased student dropouts and the mass exodus of teachers from the public school systems. This may sound like good news to some, but it is not.

If our slower students cannot keep up with the pace – they will quit. We are not graduating a third of our students as it is.

We have a teacher shortage now. Despite the so-called great salary, benefits, and tenure of teachers, fifty percent of new teachers leave the profession within five years. And how are we going to attract the best of the best with corporate style performance based evaluations and financial incentives in a taxed based industry that never posts a profit? Are taxpayers going to foot the bill for millions of dollars of incentive bonuses in public education? California tried bonuses and we found that it could not be financially sustained.

Charter schools also have yet to show that they are overall a superior choice to pubic schools. And they have not yet been forced into the corner of literally having to education all students.

Our current education system is not working. The federal take over of education is not going to work. I rather see the privatization of a tuition free but profit making education system instead. It will be then that the entrepreneur spirit of free enterprise will give parents a true choice in education, improve individualized instruction, decrease the dropout rate, better prepare college bound students for higher education, and attract teachers by paying them what they are really worth.

This is not a pipe dream. It’s going to happen. Education as we know it is going to change anyway.

TED 2006

TED 2010

Please visit me at Facebook - Carlos Mendoza