A must read if you value keeping education out of the business world

Please read not only this article by AJC columnist and blogger, Maureen Downey, but also read the posts by patrons of her blog, including those of MaryElizabethSings:

In warning of efforts to gut public education, teachers weren’t paranoid. They were prescient.

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An excerpt:

MaryElizabethSings to one poster:

All the more reason that teachers’ unions should exist in Georgia. However, right to work laws would have to be changed in Georgia for that to happen, and that is a long way off.

In the meantime, any teacher who has to exist in a paternalistic system, without teachers’ unions, will be disrespected. Much of this has to do with lingering sexism in Georgia. Women, who dominate the teaching profession, are expected to be subservient to administrative authority in a paternalistic society, just as black people are supposed to be in a racist society. Hopefully, Georgians will mature, in gender and race consciousness in years to come and teachers’ unions will not be viewed in a negative way.

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A second poster to Mary Elizabeth Sings (This poster is a businessman.):

W-H-A-T

T-H-E

H-E-L-L

A-R-E

Y-O-U

T-A-L-K-I-N-G

A-B-O-U-T

Teachers are expected to be subservient to administrative authority because they are the workers and the administrators are the bosses – just as students are (or used to be) subservient to teacher authority. Gender and race has nothing to do with it.

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MaryElizabethSings in response to the businessman’s words, above:

You have no idea what you are talking about. I worked well with all of my principals because I worked with those who respected me as an equal, only with a different area of expertise than theirs.

People who think as you do should never control education. Your view of humanity is quite limited, imho.

Thomas Jefferson: ““I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.” Try not thinking in givens but question givens of thought, and truly think for yourself. Any educator worthy of his or her position would know exactly what Jefferson meant in terms of education. The mind must not be stifled and must be allowed to explore ideas in ways beyond the ordinary realm of thought. We evolve because we explore with clarity, depth, and imagination.

Moreover, I think I hit a nerve with you for you to use a curse word in addressing me. Again, businessmen like you must NEVER program education. Jefferson would be appalled at the prospect of that, with your limited, hierarchical, and authoritarian consciousness. People such as you belong in the business world and in the military. Leave education and medical care alone!
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What is truth in education?

This article by J. Marcus Patton, as published November 30, 2016 on the “Get Schooled” blog of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is filled with truth. I urge every reader of my blog to read Mr. Patton’s article at this link:
Opinion: We cheat more than APS students when we rely on tests to define achievement

Here are my two responses to Mr. Patton’s article. The first was allowed to be seen by the reading audience of the AJC, and the second response which I wrote was only allowed to be seen by myself:

(1) MaryElizabethSings

“Outstanding article, J. Marcus Patton. Every sentence is filled with truth. That speaks of a (your) lifetime spent in not compromising with ascertaining truth, in spite of the tendency of most to look away from that truth. You have followed your own North Star of what is true and that quality of your thinking will benefit society.”

(2) MaryElizabethSings
“Outstanding article, J. Marcus Patton. Every sentence is filled with truth. That speaks of a (your) lifetime spent in not compromising with ascertaining truth, in spite of the tendency of most to look away from that truth. You have followed your own North Star of what is true and that quality of your thinking will benefit society.

For those concerned about serious improvement in educational delivery in Georgia, I must point out these words of J. Marcus Patton, in his article, above: “The story explains that a program has been set up to offer tutoring, counseling, and social services to the ‘victims’ of the scandal – but it is only open to those students.”

I want readers to understand, once again, that “tutoring, counseling, and social services” are all part of Georgia’s Democratic Caucus in Georgia’s legislature to improve educational delivery in schools while improving communities, simultaneously. The improvement in one area (the community) invariably spills over to improvement in the other (more success in the classroom), and vice versa.

Vote Democratic every chance you get, citizens who are concerned with authentic and long-lasting educational improvement in Georgia.”

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The Value of Reading

I posted the following on the AJC blog “Get Schooled” on November 30, 2016:

“If we desire to turn students onto the value and pleasure of reading, we must as both parents and teachers start talking more about ideas, in a collaborative and not in a competitive way. Ideas stimulate the intellect in ways that technical gadgets can never fulfill. If you want to read more of my thoughts on this, please go here:”

https://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/rocky-bumpy-road/

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“Example of ideas, justaposed, that families and appropriate classrooms could discuss, which might stimulate the intellectual curiosity of some students:

— America is going to be, again, an imperialistic, hierarchical empire, or we are going to become the America of our Founding Fathers’ dreams – an America of enlightenment, education, egalitarianism, and a model for the world of that enlightenment. Harshness and cruelty vs. humanity and eternal truths pursued. —

What factors do you, as a student, think will contribute toward America’s moving in either direction? Which direction do you, as a student, wish America to pursue? Why?”
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From the author of the link given here: http://getschooled.blog.myajc.com/2016/11/29/common-core-turns-students-into-literary-critics-does-it-turn-them-into-lifelong-readers/

“I do not recall ever hearing the word ‘love’ in policy discussions surrounding literacy, which tends to be treated as a set of technical skills.”

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My response: The love of learning lasts a lifetime and begins with reading. That love spills over into all of the arts, i.e. visual arts, film, stage, music, and the cultivation of that learning informs how we relate to others in the world. Through reading we not only are aware of the present but also of the past and we can, therefore, project with some degree of accuracy into the future.

Discernment also comes with reading. Most of the readers of this blog know that I have become a student of Thomas Jefferson in my retirement years. This past week, in the library, I checked out a book by an author named O’Connor which was his fictional impression of the relationship between Jefferson and Sally Hemings. I only had to read a few pages to become figuratively nauseous in reading that book. I turned it back into the library the next day. The literary standards were poor, imo, and I simply could not read what so offended my learned sensibilities. The same sensibilities now apply to film and all of the arts, as well as to relationships. Reading is the foundation upon which higher consciousness depends. Our world’s survival will depend upon it, in my opinion.

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Thomas Jefferson, Part 3

Posted by Mary Elizabeth Sings on the “Get Schooled” blog of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on November 25, 2016:
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My response to Ed Johnson on November 28, 2016:

@EdJohnson

My reasons for continuing to support President Obama, even with his not standing up to choice advocates more decidedly, are the following:

(1) He is a politician and statesman who has to keep in balance many different constituencies. He is not a MLK, Jr. who can wholeheartedly work in the course of his life for one overriding philosophy. (Obama mentions this in his Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech.)

Here are links that see Obama differently in relation to his stand on continuing public education. The names of these publications reveal their differing vantage points:

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/430446/obama-against-school-choice


(2) Obama has actually tried to change the trajectory of the world with his collaborative vision for this world’s future. (Donald Trump has a completely opposite worldview.) Please read Obama’s words below (Cairo, Egypt, 2009):

“That is what it means to share this world in the 21st century. That is the responsibility we have to one another as human beings.

This is a difficult responsibility to embrace. For human history has often been a record of nations and tribes subjugating one another to serve their own interests. Yet in this new age, such attitudes are self-defeating. Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail. So whatever we think of the past, we must not be prisoners of it. Our problems must be dealt with through partnership; progress must be shared.”

(3) Jefferson was seemingly lukewarm toward freeing slaves, later in his political career, because he said if – in his Age of history – he tried to advance the freeing of slaves more than the populace could absorb at that time in history, he would have lost his prestige in being able to sway public opinion in other areas of his interest because the public would reject him altogether. I believe Obama has been caught in the same dilemma relative to public education. He is looking for the world’s change of trajectory toward collaboration, not just education.

(4) Here is an educational model in which I can see competition and collaboration working in harmony: Charter schools would remain within the satellite of traditional public school’s jurisdiction. However, these innovative charter schools would “compete” with the educational ideas and delivery presently housed in traditional public school settings, not trying to destroy traditional public schools, but to make them better. They would be laboratories in which ideas could compete in a collaborative way, if you will.
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My 2nd Response to Ed Johnson on November 28, 2016:

Thank you, Ed, for more interesting thought about Obama. I think he is the antithesis of Donald Trump, and our nation will suffer greatly under Trump because Trump mainly is going to look after himself. Obama, on the other hand, has truly tried to help the nation, not simply himself.

We must remember that President Obama was never a student of educational delivery, as we have been, so that his perceptions relative to how to improve education will have its limitations. He was a student of law and of social justice so that I believe we must keep ourselves from broad sweeping his thinking and merit simply because he does not see the light in educational delivery based on a collaborative model as we do. Please read his Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech in full.

It is always a pleasure to debate and discuss with you. That more than anything should demonstrate the value of a collaborative spirit within our public schools more than a competitive one, for readers of this blog.

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Ed, you had asked me yesterday: “What light might you shed on a Jeffersonian competitive approach to education versus a Jeffersonian cooperative approach to education?” I have given your in-depth question the thought that it deserves. Here is my thinking, at this time, regarding my answer as succinctly as a blog post will allow:

Jefferson had a brilliant mind, in part, because his mind refused to separate paradoxical thought which average minds would unthinkingly do. Two examples: In the PBS DVD entitled “Thomas Jefferson,” it is pointed out that his profound declaration, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” holds paradoxical thought in that men cannot be both free and equal at the same time, yet Jefferson made those concepts abstract enough through his words that both concepts could be accepted by all men and women into perpetuity. That was the genius of Thomas Jefferson. The other paradoxes, which Jefferson combined, are shown in Jefferson’s life. Jefferson sincerely fought against slavery in America in his youth, but he gave up after pursuing that goal later in his life because he realized that he was of an Age in which the evolution of humankind would not accept what he knew to be an eternal truth – that no man has the right to own the body and soul another. Though a kindly master of slaves, Jefferson, nevertheless, owned slaves his entire life, demonstrating how he could juxtapose paradox within in own life.

I encouraged my students to think for themselves with nuance, degree, and with the ability to contain paradoxical ideas within their minds, simultaneously, because I believe that, in that educated or enlightened way of seeing the world, people would be able closer to find eternal truths, as Jefferson had sought and tried to implement in his own life.

Jefferson also wrote: “I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

With that thought of Jefferson’s in mind (which is engraved above Jefferson statue in his Washington D.C. Memorial), it is my opinion that Jefferson would have had a higher allegiance to the mental freedom of a single individual to think for himself than for a single individual to comply with the thoughts of his peers, even though Jefferson also recognized that man was made to be a social being. (In that way of thinking he was similar to Henry David Thoreau.) However, competition in regard to education was not something Jefferson pondered, in my opinion, unless that competition was simply a competition within himself as a student, and not with others. However, I actually believe that Jefferson did not pursue learning to be in competition with himself but simply because he had a thirst for learning. The sensibility involving competition with himself, in his own mind, to pursue greater learning would not have been consistent with the refined sensibilities of Jefferson’s mind. However, the simple love of learning and curiosity about the world did contain those refined sensibilities within his mind, imo.

I believe that Jefferson knew that we must work together as a human race to continue the evolution of the better angels of our natures and, for that reason among others, Jefferson was a social being. He also loved to be among people in a quiet and reserved way. I believe that Jefferson would have found a way to have combined competition and collaboration in public education for the good of all Americans with collaboration taking ultimate priority so that the uniqueness of thinking of any one person on Earth would forever be sustained because competition, misused and taken to the extreme, can create fear and the quest for ephemeral goals, only, in the mind of man – which is capable of so much more insight than those more limited emotions would allow. For example, I am most certain that Thomas Jefferson would be appalled at the idea of education designed primarily as a business endeavor for profit for individuals, which too often does take competition between people to a cruel and extreme degree within society.

(For more, please see the link, below, to my blog, which was originally written in 2012 as a result of our conversation at that time on the subject of competition vs. cooperation. I have added an addendum to that link, in 2015, which you may not have yet read.)
https://maryelizabethsings.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/competition-vs-cooperation/

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Addendum to my essay above: Ed, I must write, also, that Thomas Jefferson was highly competitive for the soul of America as he demonstrated in the presidential election of 1800. Jefferson knew that it was essential for this nation’s democratic tenets to be sustained as perceived by him and by those who thought like him in the Democratic-Republican Party (which later became the Democratic Party of Andrew Jackson).

Jefferson was in battle against the Federalists in the 1800 election – whose more royalist views included those of Washington, Adams, and Hamilton – for a more egalitarian society than the royalists were pursuing in America. Ironically, in the end, Alexander Hamilton threw his support in the U. S. Congress (where that election was decided) for Jefferson over Aaron Burr, after the Jefferson/Burr ticket had defeated the Federalists but one in which Burr and Jefferson both had received 73 electoral college votes. Said Hamilton (paraphrased): I may disagree with the ideas of Thomas Jefferson, but I know that he cares deeply about the viability and continuation of America, as I do, and I believe that Aaron Burr cares mainly about the success of Aaron Burr rather than America.

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Quotes by Thomas Jefferson:

“I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.”

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”

Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/t/thomas_jefferson.html

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Donald Trump’s Nomination of Betsy DeVos to be his Secretary of Education

Please read the following words by Diane Ravitch regarding Betsy DeVos:

News Flash! I Withdraw My Support for Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education; I Support Bill Evers!

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WHERE IS MY ALLEGIANCE?

WHERE IS MY ALLEGIANCE?
I try to serve God, the tenets on which America was founded, and all of America’s people, as well as all of the people on this planet whatever nation they live within, as I encounter individuals in my particular world.
I see all of humanity, whatever country people may inhabit, as essentially the same, each human being a child of God. I believe that an egalitarian world is to be, if not in my lifetime, then in the not too distant future, as Thomas Jefferson dreamed for all of humanity, one day, as he so eloquently stated in the American Declaration of Independence.
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I share Barack Obama’s vision for this world’s future. Listen to his vision for our world as he addresses the press in Greece with the Greek Prime Minister, beside him, November 14, 2016. See first link below for Obama’s speaking his vision.

View story at Medium.com

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The Rivalry between Jefferson and Hamilton Is Present Today in the Rivalry between the Democratic and Republican Parties

I am watching the DVD entitled “Thomas Jefferson: A film by Ken Burns” this evening, and I made a connection that I was stunned to have made in watching this video.
In part Two of this DVD, George Washington said to Jefferson that he believed that the ideas of both Hamilton and Jefferson were pure and in the best interests of our nation, though each was the opposite perspective of the other’s. Washington, further, said that he wished that a line could be formed in which both of their differing visions (Jefferson’s and Hamilton’s) for our nation could be incorporated instead of their pursuing separate lines of governance. (Jefferson had said of Washington that Washington had better judgment than any of the Founding Fathers.) That line has never been able to form whereby both the ideas of Hamilton and of Jefferson could prevail harmoniously together and their opposing ideas have always been in competition throughout our nation’s history. Today, we have it within our power to finally merge these two differing visions for America if the Republican Party and the Democratic Party can understand that NOW is the opportunity for America to fulfill Washington’s dream of unity and harmony between the ideas of Jefferson and Hamilton.

Hamilton had come from poverty in the Caribbean, and he was an illegitimate child. Jefferson had come from wealth and aristocracy. However, ironically, Hamilton pursued a course for America based on a strong central government in which commerce played a major part in building America’s status and greatness, which benefited the aristocracy, especially, although it also allowed for upward social advancement of the lower classes. On the other hand, Jefferson, ironically, pursued a course of social democracy that was conducive to the advancement of the common man, especially, which reflected his views that all men, under God, were created equal. Hamilton became the leader of the Federalist Party. Jefferson became the leader of the Democratic-Republican Party, which later became the Democratic Party under Andrew Jackson.

Washington wisely saw that both commerce and goodness in social consciousness were necessary for America to thrive. Here is where I made a connection which I think is reflective of the workings of the Holy Spirit in the trajectory of this world today. I see that the best in Donald Trump could possibly build better commerce in this world, with America leading the way in commercial endeavors. I see, more importantly in my mind at least, that Jefferson’s social awareness and belief that all humanity is equal to one another, in God’s omniscient eye, was essential to making America a moral leader for this world. Thus, in my mind, the Federalist Party of Hamilton has become the Republican Party of today under Donald Trump plus the Republican leaders (the commerce, not the bigotry), while the Democratic-Republican Party of Jefferson has become the Democratic Party of today under Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders plus their supporters. Americans are presently equally divided between these two old Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian visions.

Now, having seen, in part, the mystery of God’s ways (I trust) within the conflict presently in this nation, I believe that, if the better angels of our nation’s people will prevail in this national crisis and hold our nation together as one union, that the Utopian “line” of Washington’s dreams will finally form and commerce (Hamilton) and social consciousness of others, not just of ourselves (Jefferson), will make our great nation the leader of the planet’s future, under God. But, this huge feat will take both of our political parties’ coming together to complete the forming of our more perfect Union for the betterment not only of ourselves but for all of humankind.
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EDITED with some “extras”:

Our nation has been in the throes of change, aside from education, for decades. As a young teacher, and then as an older teacher, I had tried to foster growth in students, peer teachers, and communities so that that change would make society better.

I believe that many teachers have historical vision and that they see their roles as part of a historical process in America’s history. I hope that some will appreciate this particular vision that I present here, edited from an entry on my blog:

George Washington had said to Jefferson that he believed that the ideas of both Hamilton and Jefferson were pure and in the best interests of our nation, though each vision was the opposite perspective of the other’s. Washington, further, said that he wished that a line could be formed in which both of their differing visions for our nation could be incorporated instead of their pursuing separate lines of governance. That line has never been able to form whereby both the ideas of Hamilton and of Jefferson could prevail harmoniously together and their opposing ideas have always been in competition throughout our nation’s history. Today, we have it within our power to finally merge these two differing visions for America if the Republican Party and the Democratic Party can understand that NOW is the opportunity for America to fulfill Washington’s dream of unity and harmony between the ideas of Jefferson and Hamilton.

Hamilton pursued a course for America based on a strong central government in which commerce played a major part in building America’s status and greatness, which benefited the aristocracy, especially, although it also allowed for upward social advancement of the lower classes. On the other hand, Jefferson pursued a course of social democracy that was conducive to the advancement of the common man, especially, which reflected his views that all men, under God, were created equal.

Washington wisely saw that both commerce and goodness in social consciousness were necessary for America to thrive. The best in Donald Trump could possibly build better commerce in this world, with America leading the way in commercial endeavors. More importantly, imo,Jefferson’s social awareness and belief that all humanity is equal to one another, in God’s omniscient eye, is essential to making America a moral leader for this world. Hopefully, if the better angels of our nation’s people will prevail in this national crisis and hold our nation together as one union, the Utopian “line” of Washington’s dreams will finally form and commerce (Hamilton/today’s Republicans) and social consciousness of others, not just of ourselves (Jefferson/ today’s Democrats), will make our great nation the leader of the planet’s future, under God. But, this huge feat will take both of our political parties’ coming together to complete the forming of our more perfect Union for the betterment not only of ourselves, but for all of humankind.

Education of our young, free of the reins of corporations with their self-serving agenda, must lead in building this more humane and more prosperous world.

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