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Seven In [Two] Blows

This paraphrase from the Disney’s “Brave Little Tailor” (which of course comes from an older tale) is indicative of two articles this week that support at least seven of the twenty-five issues I raised two days ago in “An Educational Version of IJM” in brainstorming as many as I could think up on my own.

The first is a Thomas Sowell essay on the difference between education and schooling, which highlights the low standards in schools of education that teach our teachers, and the impact of ‘soft’ degrees in contributing to social unrest.

The second, and more useful, is an op-ed on by one of the nation’s best schoolteachers, Georgia’s Ron Clark, bemoaning how many teachers leave the field in such a few years, and why. They are leaving because they are disheartened, and they are disheartened because their authority is illusory, largely because of the disrespect shown them in various and sundry ways by parents.

In this short series, I did not intend to expand on all twenty-five issues, but I hoped to generate thoughtful consideration regarding the topic, which the first post seems to be doing, as it has become the fifth most read post of my entire blog in less than two days. Something of the topic resonates with people and I am thankful for it.

Many of the issues I raise in that post are paradoxical, yet they each occur to significant extents in our system as a whole, and possibly even in the same school. As rational as people are created to be, our capacity to hold and follow comfortably two conflicting opinions due to the slightest bits of rationalization is simply amazing. This is no small contributor to the tangled nature of the problems of American education.

While I am inclined to move on to other topics next week, I may very well come back to some of the remaining reasons as time, the muse and evolving current events dictate. Lots can be and has been said of these issues and they have a hydra’s tendency to split and multiply, then coming together to recombine in novel ways. This ‘moving target’ characteristic also makes the root problems harder to solve, especially institutionally, rather than a bit at a time.

Lagniappe:  This is an extremely well-written essay on the subject of abortion by author/speaker Frederica Mathewes-Green. It is well worth your time to read, as it reflects on the 38 years since Roe v Wade, and her initial delight in the freedom she believed it would bring to women. She has extensively researched and written on the topic, conducting many interviews of post-abortive women, exploring their reasons for having one and the evolution of their thoughts on their choice.


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