Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Sunday, September 16, 2012
* Using my Yale Divinity School Credentials (M. Div. '80) to Protest Cruelty to Children, Especially the "Late Bloomers."
America's School Boards:
Look into Your Hearts
Weep in Shame
Look into Your Hearts
Weep in Shame
I have never used my
degree in the last 32 years since it was awarded in 1980, except at funerals and weddings. Yale Divinity School
I thought I would go to my grave having not found a "cause" which needed that degree.
And now that "cause" is clear to me after retiring from twenty-five years as a
public school teacher: Vermont
Children, especially “late bloomers” like myself, who are being harmed by the cruelty of “standardized testing” need a champion, one whose credentials are not intimidated by the phonies who run the U.S. Department of Education’s “Race to the Top”, which tramples on those children every time it forces those kids to take a standardized test and has the unmitigated gall to compare, analyze and publish those kids and their “so called “achievements” with other kids around the nation of the same age and grade level who take the test.
Posted by Paul D. Keane at 8:56 AM
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Mr. Thomas DeBalsi,
Hartford School District
September 15, 2012
September 15, 2012
It was nice to sit next to you at the joint Select Board/School Board meeting the other night. Since it was the first time we have been in a meeting together I thought you were
remarkably poised in the presence of my theatrical style.
Indeed, your allusion to Macbeth’s famous “sound and fury” soliloquy was charming, especially the “a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.” (V,v, 19-28)
For me this is the key phrase: “is heard no more”. Ever since I woke up from my cancer surgery four years ago to discover I was not yet dead, I have treated every hour as if it was my last.
How liberating death is when it has retreated for just a bit.
I’m so glad you reminded this old wrinkled warhorse activist from the seventies of that.
It is refreshing to have a superintendent who is sensitive to great literature. (I mean that sincerely.)
I just wanted to let you know as a courtesy a month in advance so you will have time to notify me if I am incorrect, that I will be attending the next school board meeting wearing a placard for my organization BOOOST: “Better Opt Out of Standardized Testing.”
You can read its inaugural letter in today’s Valley News challenging parents across America to revolt against their school boards, or you can read it at the BOOOST blog http://testoptout.blogspot.
Now here’s what I want to make sure I am correct about, especially after Wednesday’s meeting when the School Board Chair found it ever so difficult to decide whether he would entertain questions from the public.
I assume I am correct that there is no printed policy which says the public may not comment or protest either by voice or by carrying a placard at a taxpayer-paid-for school board meeting in the Town of Hartford whose charter exists in communion with the First Amendment of the United States’ Constitution guaranteeing citizens “the right to peaceably assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
I am a citizen and a taxpayer and I am protesting my government’s use of my taxpayer money in a manner which I believes harms “late bloomer” children. Indeed, a lawyer might propose that it constitutes DISCRIMINATION against late bloomer children.
But we will leave that for another later time.
You can read about it in my inaugural article (link above).
Rest assured that I will be courteous, but I will be my usual theatrical self:spontaneity may spill over onto pompous protocol, of which I saw a great deal the other night.
I believe the First Amendment in its Hartford, Vermont incarnation doesn’t prohibit theatrical people from enjoying its protections.
Please do let me know if I am incorrect.
Yours very sincerely,
Paul D. Keane
M.A., M.Div. M.Ed.
Perhaps this time you won’t want to sit next to me. I’ll understand. :>) lol!
Posted by Paul D. Keane at 3:15 PM
Sunday, August 26, 2012
The real LINE, (and the undeclared war between the Bill & Melinda Gradgrinds v the Harold Blooms of the world) is :
LEFT BRAIN worshippers who believe that everything can be quantified and measured in standardized testing,
RIGHT BRAIN aesthetes, who know that NOTHING VALUABLE CAN.
Interesting, but cruel, battle.
Bill and Melinda Gradgrind and their clones, Rahm Emanuel, Arne Duncan (and even the Obam man himself), seem totally indifferent to the fact that they are grinding up all the right brain flowers in their obsession with "measuring” left brain “outcomes"
They are ever so anxious that we are falling behind
China and in producing left brain wonks, aka ‘engineers’. India
Run right home parents and give your children two tablespoons of facts, morning, noon, and night, to ward off this epidemic.
As every mother knows, you cannot rush a rose.
See BOOOST ("Better Opt Out Of Standardized Testing') my challenge to parents across America to revolt against cowardly school boards across America, including the school board that authorized my salary in Vermont for the last 25 years.
(And now, here they come, all my left brain credentials--- just to annoy the left brain wonks.)
Paul D. Keane
M. Div. ‘80
MEDANSKY: Broadening the liberal arts
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
The students of the journalism program, however, recieved a slightly different explanation. In a letter to the students, the program’s director, Hank Klibanoff, recounted his experiences at a recent meeting where Foreman alerted him of the program’s fate.
Journalism is “viewed by many at Emory as a ‘pre-professional program’ and therefore as ‘not an easy fit’ in a liberal arts environment,” Klibanoff wrote. “It’s unclear to me why we didn’t have a discussion on that, even a debate, before the decision was made to close the program.”
In his immortal 2008 essay, William Deresiewicz took to the pages of the American Scholar to craft the image of the bumbling Ivy League graduate, able to navigate corporate boardrooms and cocktail parties yet utterly bamboozled by a conversation with the local plumber. The titular disadvantages of an elite education, he writes, are myriad: We live in gated castles and earn meaningless grades, failing to ever learn. Deresiewicz bemoans that only a “small minority” of Ivy League undergraduates “have seen their education as part of a larger intellectual journey,” daring to ask the “big questions” that define the life of the mind. Churning out doctors, lawyers and MBAs, to Deresiewicz, is anathema to the pursuit of liberal education. Liberal education is “something more” than a shot at Harvard Law or Goldman Sachs.
I revive Deresiewicz not because I think he is particularly novel, but because I think his piece effectively illustrates the weird false dichotomy that’s plaguing our peers down in
The quest to define what constitutes a liberal arts education is often needlessly exclusive. The classic liberal arts education included music, geometry, astronomy and rhetoric, among other disciplines. And math is math is math, whether you’re learning it to churn out spreadsheets and financial models on Wall Street or to write proofs in an academic post — or just because you think it’s cool.
We can’t get hung up on definitions. The line between “liberal arts” and “pre-professional” is relative, not authoritative, and the two are not mutually exclusive.
After all, if Emory truly believes the line between liberal arts and career skills is so firm, it should ban future engineers from taking higher-level math courses; they might, you know, use those skills at work someday. Future novelists? Stay away from literature, lest you dare to glean some inspiration from Dickens or Cervantes. Interested in a career in music? Sorry, those classes are restricted to the tone-deaf.
Yes, some disciplines are more pre-professional than others — but the idea that a course in journalism could only exist in the context of a pre-professional experience is simply untrue, as is the notion that some disciplines are devoid of career-applicable skills. A journalism course, for instance, might employ sociology or anthropology to question recent media trends (“Muslim Rage,” anyone?). It might include a reading list of journalistic standards, then force students to analyze them; that’s no different from a literature course. This isn’t just true for journalism, but also engineering, art, education and more. I buy that budget cuts are a thing, and universities need to prioritize, but doing so on the terms of some liberal-artsier-than-thou humanists is harmful.
The liberal arts are — dare I say it — a social construct; ask any STEM major (emphasis on science and math, both liberal arts) who has chuckled when a humanities major mourns Yale’s loss of its “liberal arts” focus. If we really want to embrace the liberal arts, we need to recognize that they’re broader than Emory’s dean thinks and apply the same principles of critical thought and analysis across the disciplines — no matter how professional those disciplines might be.
Posted by Paul D. Keane at 2:28 PM