Indoctrination versus education: “Time that we remind teachers of their job descriptions.”

Last week, I ran a piece sent to me by a Clayton State education professor describing schools as pressure cookers. Professor Mari Ann Roberts questioned the value of standardized tests and cited the growing demands on teachers. Now, another academic responds, with strong criticism.

English professor Mary Grabar, who has taught at Clayton State, Georgia Perimeter and Emory, offers a much different take.

By Mary Grabar

In the wake of revelations of testing fraud in Georgia, professors of education blame the tests.  Both Shannon Howrey of North Georgia College and Mari Ann Roberts, at Clayton State University, opined in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that less testing is needed.  They echoed the dominant view of education schools, where mastery of the subject is relegated to the position of an onerous task to be circumvented.

While they train in new techniques of emotionally coercing students to adopt their own ideological views, teachers share strategies for keeping within mandates—officially.  I learned this by attending the National Council for the Social Studies conference, where workshop leaders openly admitted to teaching for “social justice.”  Knowledge of the subject matter and academic skills were never mentioned in workshops that teachers attended to earn continuing education or graduate credit.

Professor Roberts, in fact, questions the value of knowing the material on tests and asks, “Does spitting out the date of the Civil War on cue help a child negotiate a contract, hold a conversation, keep a job or determine right from wrong?”  She continues, “Do we want our children to be critical, conscious thinkers or rote memorization machines?  Do we want them to recognize the value of knowledge or, instead, to believe that the purpose of learning is to regurgitate what’s been crammed in their heads for the CRCT or the Georgia High School Graduation Test?”

“Critical thinking” is critical only toward the United States and Western values, and is usually conducted under the cover of exploring feelings in groups.  It is “facilitated” by teachers who themselves don’t know the material, but have an ideological agenda.

If cramming is necessary it’s because teachers spend so much time on such rap sessions.  At Roberts’ school, Clayton State University, future middle school teachers spend only 24 credit hours out of a total of 122 in their subject areas.  The field requirements for the five social studies classes do not even include one in U.S. history; in fact, only three are from the history department, with two of dubious value (Georgia History and Government, Selected Topics in World History, and History of World Religions).  The other two are in social science: Themes in World Geography and Research Methods in the Social Sciences.

But in required education classes, like Roberts’ EDUC 2130 class, future teachers learn about “linguistic diversity,” eliminating “gender bias in the classroom,” and running “performance-focused” rather than “mastery-focused” classrooms.  Her own students, following the future assignments they are expected to give their students, “co-construct” their own exam questions and make “culture quilts.”

It is a sad commentary on the degeneration of education schools that so much time is wasted on counterproductive activities and that an education professor even thinks to question the need to know the dates of the Civil War.

But it is time that we remind teachers of their job descriptions.  After all, two-thirds of my DeKalb county property taxes go to supporting schools that educate 89 percent of our citizens.

As Roberts disparages the “regurgitation” of dates, we should ask her whether she feels it important that her students know the dates of the Civil Rights Movement, such as the year Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.

If she does, would she not want students to know about those who came before King, like Frederick Douglass?  Would the dates of the Civil War not be relevant to an understanding of his experiences as a slave?

Contrary to Roberts’ claims, learning the dates of the Civil War in a classroom that focuses on subject mastery, maintains boundaries between students and teachers, and students and students, and honors the privacy of students’ “feelings,” would help in all the goals she lists.

Were students expected to read well-written books about the Civil War and asked to memorize facts, they would have developed their powers of concentration.  Reading skills are abysmal in large part due to the fact that classrooms increasingly rely on computer games, audio-visual aids and projects, and peer discussions.  Even textbooks are laden with illustrations interspersed amid snippets of politically correct and deathly boring prose.

Such focused concentration and discipline would prepare the student for the grind of analyzing data, memorizing sales pitches, writing reports, and reading those contracts Roberts mentions. A common complaint by employers about Generation Y is that their undisciplined habits and solipsism carry over into the workplace.

Professor Roberts expects schools to prepare students to hold a conversation.  I would assume that she means intelligent conversation, for teenagers are seldom at a loss for words among peers.  But what happens when one of her students, whose natural curiosity does not lead her to “explore” the Korean War, places it in the 19th century during a conversation at a workplace party?  I’ve had students in my college classrooms who could not place Columbus in his century and who had never heard of communism.

Professor Roberts also expresses doubt that knowing historical dates can help the student distinguish between right and wrong.  Surely one must understand that a war that produced the greatest casualties in American history, where brother fought brother, largely over the enslavement of a people who are the ancestors of many of the students, is important enough to know its dates.  An understanding of what came before 1861— of the division over slavery at the time of our country’s founding in the previous century, of the awakening of consciences through Christian spiritual revivals, of various Supreme Court decisions, of its institutional history, would help a student place this profound moral question.

Roberts’ pedagogical methods ill prepare students to be the well-spoken, independent, moral citizens she envisions.  Instead, her and her colleagues’ teaching methods waste classroom time, taxpayers’ money, and violate student boundaries to the point of emotional harm.  That her services are not needed is illustrated by the superior achievement of homeschooled children, usually taught by parents without education degrees.

One way to raise test scores is to fire those like Professor Roberts.

To read more about this issue, see Grabar’s report on indoctrination versus education.

In the meantime, there is a lot to talk about in her piece here.

134 comments Add your comment

Dr. John Trotter

February 25th, 2010
1:43 am

The first article that I ever wrote for a MACE publication in 1995 was headlined: “For Kids’ Sake, Let Teachers Teach!” (For the record, these old magazines can be found in the Archives section of http://www.theteachersadvocate.com.) For years, we have been clamoring for allowing teachers to be creative in their teaching. The public schooling process had become and still is so stifling and boring — both for the teachers and the students. The cookie-cutter approach does not work. Everything becomes so regimented and shallow. I hope that change is finally coming!

What a Joke

February 25th, 2010
2:38 am

I think Mary is taking the civil war dates thing way out of context. I do agree, those things are important to know. However, this article seems to be more about her bashing a peer than proving a point. But she does have excellent points, if you can find them.
The current new college graduates are all about entitlement and laziness, from what I’ve seen. And from what I’m seeing in the high school classroom, it’s only going to get worse.
So is the answer to change the curriculum in Ed. colleges? Perhaps partly.
I do believe in teachable moments, and I do believe in straying from the script. I wonder if Mary is in favor of current GA school programs like Direct Instruction and Success for All.

What a Joke

February 25th, 2010
2:47 am

I’m stuck in the filter… again!

Dr. John Trotter

February 25th, 2010
3:25 am

Teachers have to know the subject matter that they teach, and they must be seen by the students as “the authority” in this subject. But, teachers ought not to be put in staight-jackets and required to act in a robotic fashion to teach factual material. Also, standardized testing ought not to be seen as the panacea for judging whether students have mastered factial material. A teacher’s personal evaluation in this matter ought to be trusted. This is the issue. Policy-makers have concluded that teachers’ professional judgments can no longer be trusted; rather, shallow standardized tests are the supreme judges now. Standardized tests have themselves become the curricula — or, rather, the false gods to which all must fall down and worship.

Dr. John Trotter

February 25th, 2010
3:32 am

I better go to bed now. We have a good, juicy picket tomorrow. Apparently, an Atlanta principal dogged out (yes, dogged out!) his faculty on Wednesday, demanding that they all had to come to work on Saturday and threatened them with their jobs if they did not show up! We’ll just have to hit the pavement and remind him “[T]o remember the Sabbath Day…” I am sure that this very public picket will tighten him up! The last principal abruptly resigned in the middle of the year. Hmm. I think that this cat might need to go too!

What a Joke

February 25th, 2010
3:59 am

Go Dr. Trotter!!
These principals are on another planet with these power trips! My principal can’t fire me – Not that he hasn’t told me he could. He once even said that he wasn’t going to pay me.
And all this time I thought my paycheck came from the APS payroll dept. Wow…
I DID post something relevant to this article, it just got eaten by the filter, so…
This lady though sounds like she needs to take a chill pill and work it out in private.

Teaching in FL is worse

February 25th, 2010
5:27 am

It seems Prof Grabar was primarily talking about social studies classes. CRCT doesn’t test that, so who cares anyway?

Teaching in FL is worse

February 25th, 2010
5:31 am

But seriously, I roil at the idea that the fun and creativity has been taken out of teaching. Nothing prevents a teacher from taking the required amount of curriculum due in a certain week and “making it their own” with creative activities.
At this point we are told WHAT to teach and WHEN to teach it, but not HOW (at least for now.)
As frightening as some of my student’s points of view are, I don;t have enough time think about them, much less try to change them.

an idealist

February 25th, 2010
5:44 am

Fun and creativity are fine, but the end goal is that students learn. Too often, teachers’ efforts to create a fun lesson ends up being a rather superficial gimmick which results little learning. Teachers should be focusing on effective teaching so that students will find fun in learning.

justbrowsing

February 25th, 2010
5:47 am

Professor Grabar makes an interesting observation. Most poignant is that which addresses students as being critically conscious. This is not something that the educational system promotes, however, I can see where Robert’s methods actually help to promote scholarly pursuits in students. As is the case, knowing the facts is one thing, framing them in a way which helps you understand the dynamics and undertones that permeate our country so we can better understand our present is another. Being critically conscious requires that one be critical, and that is just not an option in Georgia schools. Furthermore, how can a disempowered teacher who is dissuaded to be a critical thinker about their own profession promote critical consciousness within their classrooms?

Get it straight

February 25th, 2010
6:09 am

Well, in Hall County, we are told HOW to teach it (at least we are at my school). Lord love you if you stray.

What a Joke

February 25th, 2010
6:15 am

Idealist, I don’t know where you work, or where you have observed teachers who get a chance to put even a teeny tiny smidgen of their own personalities in their lesson plans! And then they actually get to DO something besides reading from a script? Sign me up!
Also, from the way you sound, I guess you think it might be a good idea to do away with teachers and just let any old slob work in the classroom. Anyone can do that job, huh?

Common Sense

February 25th, 2010
6:44 am

Yet another call for common sense. As with most topics of late whether it’s at the federal or local level, proponents take the extreme view at either end of the perspective. Yes, knowing the pertinent dates of events like the Civil War gives students a needed perspective but memorizing the month, day and year of many battles is another.
As with most topics here and at other venues (see Congress), people feel the need to gravitate to polar opposites. Until we adopt a more moderate, centrist view of common sense, we will continue to be a culture of extremists.

iRun

February 25th, 2010
6:49 am

Grabar’s piece is pretty unprofessional and makes personal attacks against Roberts and others. It’s patently disrespectful and bombastic. All of that undermines her point, which is valid, IN PART. However, she takes the extreme otherside of pedagological school of thought. When you do that it’s the whole My Way Or Highway thing. To quite Mr Diesel in a really dumb kid movie – There’s no highway option. Not really.

What needs to happen is Grabar and Roberts serve on an advisory panel together. Bring together differing expertise and diffuse the philosophical in breeding that’s rampant here.

Jeff

February 25th, 2010
7:01 am

Since we’re all about fixing things that are broken now-a-days (healthcare, banks, adnausem), let’s fix education too. It’s clear the government can’t make education work. Let’s have the private sector take over it with school choice. A woman can chose to have an abortion but can’t pick what school that child goes to if she decides to allow it to live?

One Voice

February 25th, 2010
7:07 am

Someone with a PhD in English is simply not qualified to report on the subject matter Dr. Grabar writes about. No one needs a PhD to interpret write or literature, and she has no training in empirical research, only highly subjective, high debatable analysis. A PhD in English is no different than a PhD in art- they’re both based on opinion and therefore not worthy of PhD status. Give me actual empirical data from someone who really understand the difference between education and indoctrination. “Dr.” Grabar is an essayist and nothing more. This is not impressive.

Former student of the prof

February 25th, 2010
7:13 am

Go to Rate Your Professor.com and you’ll understand why Prof. Grabar is so upset. Her ratings by students suggest she is in the wrong field while the object of her criticism is held in much higher esteem by former students.
Could this be professional jealousy rearing its ugly head? After all, doesn’t matter too much what you teach if you can’t teach.

Concerned English Teacher

February 25th, 2010
7:19 am

““Critical thinking” is critical only toward the United States and Western values, and is usually conducted under the cover of exploring feelings in groups. It is “facilitated” by teachers who themselves don’t know the material, but have an ideological agenda.”

Do you have statistics to back up these claims? “Usually”? What evidence, beyond anecdotal, supports these statements? It scares me that you can play this fast and loose with the facts and you are educating our students. Thank goodness my English professors held me to a higher standard.

Dunwoody Mom

February 25th, 2010
7:24 am

Just google Mary Ann Grabar – her views seem to be right up there with noted intellectual beings such as Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin. That Ms. Grabar wrote such an unprofessional letter with personal attacks should surprise no one. While some of us may not agree with Roberts, Ms. Grabar took that disagreement to a uncalled for level. Maureen, I really am surprised you felt the need to print this.

Yo

February 25th, 2010
7:25 am

I have only one comment that I think completely disproves this author’s point. Homeschooled children (those taught by parents without education degrees as the author so boldy points out) are generaly not taught to pass tests. They are taught to learn the information presented. The author’s last paragraph indeed serves as proof that the current system, which places such great emphasis on testing, is deeply flawed.

Devildog

February 25th, 2010
7:27 am

Well said, Ms. Grabar.
And you can tell by the majority of the feedback just how lacking education is in America.
The comments about teaching “critical thinking” are a joke. An empty head can’t think. And empty heads can’t teach.
A student’s head is like a computer, it needs programming to make it work. Bad programming produces bad or no results. So, teachers have to go through the grueling task of filling those little “hard drives” with “boring” facts and figures.
I taught karate for years and spent most of my time teaching fundamentals because if the fundamentals aren’t there, you can’t do the fancy moves and kicks. You might compare critical thinking to fancy moves and kicks and without fundamental knowledge, the brain isn’t capable of “fancy thinking.”
It really disturbs me to know how many unqualified teachers are out there feeding bad information to our kids rather than just teaching them how to read, write and do even simple math. You have half-educated “educators” trying to produce rocket scientests. Ain’t gonna happen, folks.

It's Not Brain Surgery

February 25th, 2010
7:37 am

This editorial makes excellent points. I have a BA in American History and I walked away from a career in education because I wanted to be an educator, not a politician or bureaucrat. Of course dates are important and “diversity” is not. “Critical thinking” is also important, but in order to think critically, students (and adults for that matter) must know the facts. The problems with “touchy-feely” educators – allowing students to “co-construct” exams? is reflective of a MAJOR flaw in America’s collective “culture quilt”. Namely, we coddle our children, and accept mediocrity as “OK”. W do not challenge children to “be the best” or excel, because as we know ALL children are special. As it turns out, I was discussing education with a friend the other day and she cited the mantra at her child’s (private) school; “do not prepare the path for your child. Prepare your child for the path.” Students must adapt and adjust through learning, not the other way around.

Gerald

February 25th, 2010
7:37 am

And they wonder why there is an exodus to private, charter and home schools. Yet Maureen Downey opposes the school choice movement. The amazing thing is that if our schools were run by conservatives as opposed to liberal ideologues, liberals like Downey would be the main ones in support of school choice. (I do agree that conservatives in that instance would oppose it … you can just imagine Rush Limbaugh and his ilk calling charter schools “affirmative action academies for teachers and students who can’t cut it in government schools.”) I do give Downey credit for actually printing this article. Most education establishment liberals do their best to deny the possibility that indoctrination goes on in public schools, and that is why the left demands universal public education … they don’t want alternative views heard and worldviews developed. (A leader in promoting this viewpoint is Martha Fineman of Emory University, feminist legal scholar, who demands that private, charter and home schooling be made illegal.) So, stuff like this usually doesn’t see the light of day in mainstream press, because the left doesn’t want you to know what their agenda is.

I give Downey a red badge of courage (the title of one of my favorite children’s books, back before the good children’s books were deemed politically incorrect and they started dissuading people from reading them) for putting this out there. Maybe she is an honest woman for whom there is hope for after all. Because I am not anti-liberal. (I am also not a conservative … I dislike them just as much, probably more.) It is the dishonest, subversive liberals that I oppose, and maybe by putting this out there Downey demonstrates that she is not one of the MANY subversives who denies that indoctrination is going on in public schools.

That said, I am not going to back Grabar either. This standardized testing nonsense is ridiculous. It only measures the ability to take tests in the standardized format. It does not measure or develop work ethic. It does not measure or develop critical thinking or reasoning skills. The testing craze was only proposed by conservatives as a quick, easy fix to stop social promotion and to expose the failure of liberal failed education fads like new math and outcome based education. It shows that conservatives have been too LAZY to get involved over the REAL public education fights, primarily because most conservatives left the inner city public school systems behind during the white flight era.

So a pox on both their houses. A pox on liberals for creating this mess because they want to brainwash our kids politically. A pox on conservatives for being too lazy and disinterested to fight this problem because it only RECENTLY started affecting their schools when the Marxist indoctrinators started migrating from the inner city schools to THEIR suburban ones.

I hate to say it, but charter schools aren’t a panacea, because once charter schools become numerous and powerful enough, the liberals will start creating their own. That is already getting to be a problem in Washington D.C. and New York. I recall that liberals were some of the main proponents of the early charter school movement before the teachers’ unions started to crush it because public schools weren’t liberal enough! So they wanted charter schools to try out the really far out there experimental instructional methods, and schools that would be totally focused on radical politics.

But if we have to put up with a few Marxist academies in order to get the charter schools that focus on “the three Rs”, that is a price well worth paying.

Dunwoody Mom

February 25th, 2010
7:49 am

Gerald, please give me an example of “indoctrination” going on in public schools?

Maureen Downey

February 25th, 2010
7:53 am

Dunwoody Mom, While I don’t agree with the piece, I want the blog to encourage a wide range of views and not just my own or those who think as I do. Mary Grabar’s piece is generating an interesting debate already this morning and that is the goal of a blog. I did not like the personal approach of the piece – taking another op-ed writer to task. But when you write a piece for publication, you have to expect responses that are negative and personal.
I think Dr. Roberts can see from the initial response to her blog posting here – and it was later published in the paper – that she was very well received by most people.
Maureen

Dunwoody Mom

February 25th, 2010
7:56 am

Maureen, I am all for opposing views – I love a spirited, educated, respectful debate. Ms. Grabar’s piece was nothing more than a personal attack on Ms. Robert’s views. My wish is that when you post opposing viewpoints, and I am all for that, it is a viewpoint that is respectful and professional.

Winfield J. Abbe

February 25th, 2010
7:56 am

A certain amount of rote memorization is necessary in any field just to be conversant in that field. Memorizing the multiplication tables, the alphabet and the meanings of a small vocabulary would be obvious examples. I had a chemistry teacher once who I believe said it best: The most important things one learns in school are not facts, which can be looked up in any book, but concepts. But there are benefits to learning how to remember facts too and have certain facts at one’s disposal.
The most important part of any type education is reading since reading is common and prerequisite to all learning and knowledge. About 71 years ago a genius level scholar Mortimer Adler, Ph.D., wrote a book called “How to Read a Book” published by Simon and Schuster, New York. At the time he was a professor at the University of Chicago. In that book he made this astounding statement, that college kids then could not read past the sixth grade level! By the way, professor Adler, who later became the editor in chief for the Encyclopedia Britannica, was the only person to be awarded a Ph.D. degree from Columbia University in New York without having graduated from either high school or college. What do you think the situation is today?
The teacher of secondary schools today is in a tough spot. They have been poorly prepared for their plight by mostly education schools who have betrayed them by focusing to much on methodology rather than subject matter and concepts. Then these same education colleges produce their low level supervisors the superintendents and principals who “rose to the top” like the scum in a cup of hot chocolate. Most of these cowardly administrators could not pass an elementary physics or mathematics class in most community colleges let alone a more advanced class. After all this is why they chose education isn’t it?.
But they have the autocratic power over the teachers who are in the trenches today.
The problem is only compounded by constant distractions to learning by entertainment television, sports entertainment, Hollywood perverts and living the good life, not to mention the thugs and criminals in the classrooms. It is difficult to concentrate under such circumstances.
Testing is going to be part of any education process. What is “fair” for one is “unfair” for the other. But in the end, we should first get rid of the education colleges and educate teachers in the same departments of physics, mathematics, English, chemistry, French, etc. everyone else is educated in, and throw in a few bits of teaching techniques along the way. Second, teachers, for better or worse, must have broad powers over their own classes and evaluation of their own students and have almost total immunity from claims.
No administrator should be permitted to change their grades period.
Third, if principals are going to evaluate teachers, teachers should also evaluate principals, superintendents and school boards too. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.
The autocratic system of Georgia is as outdated as slavery was. Education here must be brought into the 21st century. Until it is, what is usually falsely called education will be little more than meaningless indoctrination and propaganda which is a betrayal to every student and the taxpayers who pay the enormous costs of about $12,000 per year per student which most of the parents who foster those students pay very little or any of.
By the way how often do you observe a principal or superintendent with a Ph.D. degree in say physics, mathematics, biochemistry or even English or Literature or History, etc ? Almost never. Most of them took the easy road of “education” which challenged them little. But now they are running the school! This is disgusting stuff. They possess the virtually meaningless Ed.D. degree which should be abolished and should never have been approved in the first place.
Winfield J. Abbe, Ph.D., Physics
150 Raintree Ct.
Athens, GA 30607
wjabbe@aol.com
P.S. Anyone who has children quickly learns that a child is like a wild animal and must be disciplined immediately for failure to follow directions and instruction lest they get killed by a car crossing the street or asphyxiated by an idling engine in an enclosed space or drown by falling through a iced over pond. They must be disciplined immediately, not weeks or months later. Our former teachers and ancestors knew how to do this by spanking and straps or hickory sticks. Yes, these may injure the child. But consider the risks of no discipline.

Alison

February 25th, 2010
8:10 am

Totally agree with iRun…this piece strikes me as unprofessional and an attack on a peer.
Ms. Grabar appears to be “uneducated” the very stuff she writes about. I know plenty of homeschooled kids and they’re doing fabulous at real learning. Why…because their parents are able to be creative in teaching them and focused specifically on each child. Isn’t that what Ms. Roberts (and many of us) say isn’t happening in today’s schools because all we do is focus on the test.
Maybe Ms Grabar spent a bit too much time learning her dates and not enough on her education to learn to think clearly!

clueless

February 25th, 2010
8:11 am

Who was it who said that in order to think critically, students must have something to think about?

Dunwoody Mom

February 25th, 2010
8:12 am

As a student, and now a parent of 2 students, I found the memorization and regurgitation of facts to be of limited usefulness in school and in the professional world. It certainly does not come into play when taking the SAT and ACT, which require logical and critical thinking.

Attentive Parent

February 25th, 2010
8:12 am

If you are going to encourage readers to google Grabar, they should also google Mari Ann Roberts and appreciate that she is in fact an Assistant Prof of Multicultural Education who wrote her thesis on whether “European Americans” should be teaching African American Students.

She also has a poem published while she was at Emory that exudes enough hatred that more than one parent said they would not be comfortable having her in a classroom instructing their child.

Neither of these writers is mainstream. One’s views definitely had far of a following which is interesting. I found Ms Roberts’ piece to be shallow and poorly reasoned as if she had been led to believe mere assertions are all that are necessary to present a view. I was clearly in the minority which is what makes it interesting to read the comments.

irisheyes

February 25th, 2010
8:23 am

Professor Graber is so off base about what is happening in schools today it’s almost laughable. I have never heard a teacher say that learning the FACTS of learning are important, but being able to regugitate facts will NEVER help a student become a contributing adult. Do employers give prospective employees a test on factual regugitation before they hire them? Of course not! They interview them and look for people who are well-spoken, who are problem solvers, and who are able to work well with others. I think taking some time to teach those skills is not “indoctrination”. Far from it.

I have more, but the bell just rang, and my little babies are on their way in so I can indoctrinate them more! :)

Gwinnett Parent

February 25th, 2010
8:31 am

Jay Leno could have a lot of fun questioning today’s students. Here are a few observations of public school students and teachers from my part of town.

The neighbor’s 13yr old asked me if Ben Franklin was on currency. This is an honor student with involved parents.
A teenager asked me a few years ago “Who is Bush/Cheney?”. Supposedly they had not covered it in school and she did not understand why there were so many bumper stickers. A Highschooler asked me one day what the exchange rate was in Hawaii.

On the other hand, I recently met an Economics teacher that had only 1 Econ. course under her belt, which she passed with a “D”. Hope no one asks her any detailed questions about the economy. However, she informed me that her hubby has a Business degree and got her up to speed to teach the course.

We are not going in the right direction folks.

DAVID: AJC truth Detector

February 25th, 2010
8:33 am

I READ IT———–But…..Understand it-?????? Maybe

DAVID: AJC truth Detector

February 25th, 2010
8:34 am

ONE OF THE SCHOLARS PUSHING THE GLOBAL WARMING HOAX….has advanced degrees in ECONIMICS….GO FIGURE–????

DAVID: AJC truth Detector

February 25th, 2010
8:37 am

WHY DO YOU FOLKs think there is so much bickering in Congress-?? The Socialists in the Democrat Party have run into the brickWall of CAPITALISM……THERE WILL BE NO AGREEMENTS –

Sick&Tired

February 25th, 2010
8:39 am

I actually think this woman is a nutcase on a personal vendetta. I believe that our children should learn about history and should be told the date of occurrence. However, regurgitating the date of the Civil War or the Civil Rights Movement on a test is of less importance. I am offended that she would bring the Civil Rights Movement into this discussion, due to the fact that most of our textbook mention very little about the movement or slavery. All history is important, but knowing the exact date is of less importance than knowing why the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement happened in the first place. Those topics should be used as a discussion point and analysis of the event; told in chronological order and therefore creating a time period. If you don’t know what led up to an event, what good is it to know the exact date? The social studies course is not a math or science class, where knowing a formula is of importance. If she wanted to compare the process of regurgitating a date versus anything, it should have been regurgitating a date and the need to know an exact formula or mathematical procedure.
The need to know formulas and mathematical procedure is 100% more valuable in the workforce, than the date of the Civil War. Critical thinking is importance in the workplace, which is why the context that led to the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement is much more beneficial than an exact date.

If anyone should be fired it should be this woman.

One Voice

February 25th, 2010
8:40 am

Once again, Dr. Grabar, as a professor of English, is trained in interpreting fiction and writing essays, which is fine for aesthetic pleasure, but does not qualify her as an expert in the field she writes about here.

For example, she gives her opinion on why students don’t read well. But a PhD in English does not include research in the cognitive science of reading, and by now there is a broad body of scientific research in the area. Coincidentally, Dr. Grabar’s opinions do not correspond with what that scientific evidence tells us.

In addition, Dr. Grabar criticizes education courses based on her anecdotal observations, but we already know that students come from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. There is empirical evidence that tells us students will learn more if we acknowledge those varying backgrounds and can tailor instruction, to some extent, to address those differences rather than attempting to stifle those differences. If we do not, students tune us out and only the most privileged of them tend to succeed.

Finally, she attributes the cause of home schooled students performing well to the fact that their parents lack an education in education, possibly the most ludicrous charge she makes. When we look at cause and effect, it is much more probable that home-schooled students perform well due to a 1-to-1 student-teacher ratio. They get direct attention from a single teacher who they respect (and who puts food in their mouths) every moment they are in “school”. This is obviously far different than the environment public school students and teachers face.

Dr. Grabar’s assumptions simply don’t hold water. Her education has not prepared her for the debate into which she inserts her opinion and her opinions do not correspond with the existing evidence, and therefore are not credible.

concerned citizen

February 25th, 2010
8:42 am

I wonder why it is that in spite of all the heads being put together to go over this curriculum or that standardized test, GA is still dismally ranked nationally? Part of the problem is the quality of the educators themselves, I’ve cringed so many times when hearing improper syntax or when seeing egregious spelling errors. This is pathetic.

DAVID: AJC truth Detector

February 25th, 2010
8:42 am

AMUSING……WE HAVE EDUCATORS ARGUING ABOUT “WHAT IS EDUCATION”—-Why don’t they use the teaching methods that got them where they are-??? THESE “WIZARDs of SMART-” reject the subjects & teaching methods used when they were undergraduates…THIS IS LIBERALISM

an idealist

February 25th, 2010
8:44 am

@ Joke,

In the contrary. I think it takes extreme talent and knowledge to be effective teachers. I’m sorry that my statement about teacher creativity often ends up being just a bunch of gimmicks. The problem is that so many of those teachers don’t realize that their products are just gimmicks – and that shows the lack of talent/knowledge.

@ WJ Abbe,

I agree that some “rote memorization” is necessary, and I suspect most people do, too. The difficulty is what should be memorized. I would argue that the multiplication table isn’t something to be memorized. Yes, automaticity of basic multiplication IS important but how you get there shouldn’t be just memorization. The notion that facts and critical thinking are learned disjointly is absurd. You can learn facts while engaged in critical thinking. Of course, that will take knowledgeable and talented teachers…

DAVID: AJC truth Detector

February 25th, 2010
8:45 am

SICK & Tired—————–Didn’t know SLAVERY was a movement…..It was alll about business…& Cheap Labor-

DAVID: AJC truth Detector

February 25th, 2010
8:46 am

BUT THEN SLAVERY was not about cheap labor….

Meme

February 25th, 2010
8:46 am

I knew my job description when I started this but after 36 years things have changed and changed again. I don’t want to teach with a script. I want to be able to explore things when a student asks a question but if it isn’t on the test… well, you know. It is time to leave teaching to a new generation.

BugKiller

February 25th, 2010
8:50 am

What’s funny is how on the nose much of the professor’s piece is… and how clueless some of y’all really are.

I was in UGA’s Social Science Education program, but left it to pursue a history degree only. Why?

Because the program is a JOKE.

She’s not joking when she says we have people being graduated by our colleges to be social studies teachers who have only a cursory knowledge of their chosen profession.

In Georgia colleges, you have to take 8 hours of history-based credit in your core classes. To become a social studies teacher, you only need 16 more, or only four more classes!

That’s INSANE.

The other problems she speaks of do persist. Revisionist history, as read in textbooks written by PhDs with an obvious ideologically bias, runs rampant in our schools across this country.

I am a historian. I pursue the TRUTH. Even if it doesn’t quite match up with what I personally believe, it is what happened. To change the truth of what our history is to fit a narrow ideological bias and then pass that on to children to be learned as fact is tantamount to fraud and criminal neglect.

Some of you people need to wake the frak up. While I do believe that as historians, all of the Five Ws (and One H) are important, the way we teach history in this state and this country is all backwards.

First: Stop focusing on Who, What, When, and Where. If you focus on Why and How, Why something happened and How it happened you can actually grab the interest of the students, then Who, What, When, and Where become far easier for them to remember. Who, What, When, and Where are equally important, but cannot be the sole focus. Too often in social studies classrooms, Why and How are completely ignored. And this is why so many students complain that the subject is “boring.”

Second: ENOUGH with “social studies.” It’s HISTORY, people. It’s GEOGRAPHY. STOP adding in SOCIOLOGY where it does not belong. For a very short time, I added sociology as a second major (since shortened to a minor). It was like banging my head against a wall trying to have a rational discussion with some of my professors. For the time I’ve been at UGA, I’ve found very little ideological bias outside of social science education. I certainly never found it at Le Conte. But boy did I ever find it in the Sociology building. I’m surprised I wasn’t given my own Little Red Book upon entrance.

We need to stop with the politically correct bullcrap that has seized our educational system and just teach FACTS. Not different “variations,” or watered-down half-truths to protect the innocent. Just FACTS. Just TRUTH. And not some insane, biased version of the truth.

OUT with social studies. IN with history and geography.

Third: treat this new history class idea (remember, no more social studies) like colleges teach history. No more text books. ACTUAL history books. Or, much like a high school English text does, being filled with various texts and such, fill a US History text with excerpts of books like “Team of Rivals,” or “John Adams.”

No more intellectually-dishonest, ideologically-biased social studies textbooks. No more revisionist history. ACTUAL history, written by noted historians. Not tenured college professors with an ideologically, politically correct ax to grind.

Wake up, people. The system is BROKEN. And your precious political correctness and need to rewrite history as you see fit has broken it.

It’s child abuse. Plain and simple.

Sick&Tired

February 25th, 2010
8:52 am

DAVID: AJC truth Detector

February 25th, 2010
8:45 am
SICK & Tired—————–Didn’t know SLAVERY was a movement…..It was alll about business…& Cheap Labor-

David, you are an idiot. The statement reads “movement” or slavery as two separate occurrences. It doesn’t say that slavery is a movement. As an African-American, I am positive that it wasn’t a movement and NOT one I would have participated in at any cost.

Concerned English Teacher

February 25th, 2010
8:53 am

concerned citizen…. you mean like switching verb tenses in the middle of a sentence?

Roekest

February 25th, 2010
8:53 am

Anyone who thinks Prof. Roberts has a valid point has their head in the sand, including the author of this blog. My wife is a teacher and you don’t get good results from students if you’re asking them to love one another and to think with their hearts, not their minds.

It’s this kind of shallow, sugar-coated, empty-headed approach to education, the kind that Prof. Roberts endorses, that is keeping America further and further behind developing nations, like China and India. In those countries, they teach their students to become critical thinkers. Looks like it’s working for them. Too bad Americans are too busy with their personal, emotional lives and their American Idol to see that.

Nature Dude

February 25th, 2010
8:58 am

How about we switch up the way teachers get certified in Georgia. I originally came from Illinois, and when I first was certified we had to major in a particular subject area, mine was history. In addition we took education courses, and two tests to become certified. Once this was done it was course work in subject areas that qualified us to teach in additional area. So, for many of the social studies areas once I had 36 hours in history I needed 3 courses. I got those in government, geography, and sociology. Then I move to Georgia, and find out that many never took a class in subject matter they taught, instead they crammed and passed a test. Now I am working a masters degree in Public Policy and Administration, yes I am looking to get out of the public schools, however if I intended to stay this degree would give me more education in the realm of government than anyone in my building…yet according to the PSC I am not qualified to teach it. It’s time Georgia realize teachers should be experts in their fields of instructions, not just “experts” in instruction.

Sick&Tired

February 25th, 2010
9:03 am

BugKiller – as a born and raised southern girl, why do some people in the south call the Civil War; the War Between the States?