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Near Silence on Education at First Democratic Debate


Near Silence on Education at First Democratic Debate

Steven Singer




That’s how many questions CNN anchors asked presidential hopefuls about America’s public schools at the first Democratic Debate.

Imagine if Anderson Cooper and company had been silent on Climate Change. The candidates would have brought it up anyway. Bernie Sanders actually did talk about the threat to the environment when asked a question about national defense.


Pretty much spot on Mr. Singer. For readers who wish to do some followup, I recommend Charlotte Iserbyt's "The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America" (available online) and works by John Taylor Gatto for starters. From them are many threads to be pulled illuminating just how far down the rabbit hole American education has gone along with explanations of how and why it happened.

 Thank you for writing this. It could be: a) they aren't aware of what is going on deeply and haven't developed opinions  b) they are in favor of the destruction of our public schools and the narrowing of our curriculum.
 Watching the debates, I was waiting to have Anderson give them a question on education.
 I would send them my book, but I doubt they'd read it. And she is featured in one of the chapters as being a champion of ed-reform in the early days in Arkansas, where her husband signed legislation in 1984 to increase sales taxes to pay for more testing. And Hillary called for these test results to be tied to teacher evals.

I won't vote for her. http://weaponsofmassdeception.org/1-drill-and-kill-fake-tests/1-2-rise-of-the-toxic-test-scammers


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The top-down hierarchical business model is antithetical to Democracy:

"Both the American Federation of Teachers representing 1.5 million members and the National Education Association representing 3 million members have backed Clinton.

"Well, leadership has. Member outreach, polling, even voting by the organizations largest representative boards has been almost entirely absent."

In schools, teachers are at the bottom of today's management-based pyramid.

In the military, every decision is based on a top-down command chain, ditto within government and corporations.

And this same hierarchy is a fundament of the Catholic Church.

How much voice does the average working stiff have in any of these scenarios, the very ones that dominate life as we know it?


In this supposed-family values nation, too many care more about unborn fetuses than the quality of life lived by actual-born children.

In parallel, for all the talk about freedom, our nation is in virtual lockdown; and for all the talk about acting as the world's peace maker, U.S. imperial forces mostly spread war, pain, poverty, and despair.

Most ideals have been inverted with just about everything--including the weather--off its rocker.


I think there is a lot to be said about home schooling and online teaching. The Calvert homeschool said its students have a good record of entering college. Is there a reason this can't continue in college? MIT offers free online classes with the best teachers.


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My mother was a teacher. I love teachers. But schools today could be supervised gathering places for developing social skills, arts, sports and whatever else students can't do by themselves online.
Such socializing could keep kids from being indoctrinated.

Online teaching would give them the advantages of personalized interactive learning with some of the best teachers, graphics and methods of today.

Kids have become techies. Its natural for them to learn using the latest technology.

Robots and computers may eventually rule. Kids may need to know how to deal with all the emerging technology.


My mom, a retired community college instructor (beloved by her students, who prospered under her many-extra-miles care), has researched the for-profit online college courses and found that most studies indicate that they are far, far worse, in general, than in-person education except in one area: racial bias. Online students of color experience better treatment, on average, in online courses than when they face teachers playing out unexamined prejudice, and too many teachers play this out. However, that's not saying much when one considers that the online education they receive is still below-par... it's just better than receiving in-person education from an averagely racially biased teacher. So, we need to keep in-person teachers working with students in classrooms and office hours (and students collaborating and sharing with each other in-person), certainly with online components in addition, as appropriate, but we also need comprehensive teacher education in culturally competent, anti-racist pedagogy (and other liberatory pedagogy), something that way too many teacher education programs do not deeply do, nor do enough school districts and principals truly commit to. Yet it's also the case that public schools remain one of the last places where mass anti-racist education is done at all, led primarily by teachers, students, and parents.


I should have specified the for-profit online ed outfits are found to be far worse than in-person public community colleges, in particular... except for the area I addressed above.


I am and have been a teacher, and a spirit father (like a godfather, but I'm not Christian, although my spirit child's family is, but they don't need me to be). Kids, and especially adolescents, need caring adults in their lives. They need to be known, spoken with, listened to, witnessed, felt (through the air and/or closer, as appropriate), tended to by parents and teachers. They also need to be taught living, breathing, present person-to-person, by both peers and teachers; there are many things computers and videos will never be able to teach them, one of them being how one's living body and mind regulates and shifts and handles everything being taught, from reciting poetry to conducting lab work to figure drawing to quietly reading. Live teachers are also needed to give children and adolescents not just their thoughts but their heartfelt energy, their living voices, their appropriate physical touch and measured presence and witness, their physical movement, and their whole response to the whole child and adolescent. A computer can't do any of that. Computers are not alive, and to deny children and adolescents living adults closely raising them is to isolate and deprive them of what they need. We humans take a very long time to grow up because we need lots and lots and lots and lots of loving care and teaching to learn how to be good, mature adult members of the social species. The gadgets are already taking their bloody toll. We need more loving human contact, not less, for all ages of people.


I don't have any direct experience with homeschooling, but I've read enough (particularly The Teenage Liberation Handbook by Grace Llewellyn) to consider that for the resourceful teen whose parents are supportive and not overbearing nor careless, homeschooling--which can include internships, regular peer social (and even scholarly/creative/etc.) connections, and even certain limited school connections, such as a photography or biology course--could be a great improvement over a terrible or just too limiting, too authoritarian, or too boring school experience. I think every child and teen should have the informed right to choose on this matter--and every parent should carefully consider what might be best for their child, and if homeschooling seems like a possibly better way, really looking at how it could work. A cousin of mine was home schooled in middle school after some dismal elementary years, and now she's a very dynamic and simultaneously shy, academically successful, extracurricularly involved, and socially fairly contented high schooler looking smartly towards college. Homeschooling certainly didn't hurt her, and it may have even really helped her.