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Monday, December 06, 2004



Dear Prof. Plum,

I discovered this site only recently via Linda Seebach's column.

What an awesome site!

Your scholarship, prolific output and perspicacity are extraordinary.

Your site deserves the widest exposure. The cultists cannot be allowed to prevail.

My only quibble is that there is so much essential stuff here that I spent all weekend reading.


You're right. And I'm depressed.

mr tall

That paragraph in brackets -- the one about, ahem, ahem, 'faculty and students coming together' -- is worth a thousand pages of edutext. To the inquirarium!

Steve LaBonne

Plum, how do you stay sane (it can't just be the Jack Daniels?) That's a serious question. I could never function in an environment full of drooling cretins like you do- I'd have a stroke, or have to be put in a rubber room. Nature seems to have blessed you with an amazing temperament.

Tribe of Dan

Just a quote...
"Would to God your horizon may Broaden every day! The people who bind themselves to systems are those who are unable to encompass the whole truth and try to catch it by the tail; a system is like the tail of truth, but truth is like a lizard; it leaves its tail in your fingers and runs away knowing full well that it will grow a new one in a twinkling."
Ivan Turgenev to Leo Tolstoy (1856)


Ed schools willingly and enthutiastically promote the anti-knowledge and anti-intellectual "progressive" ed cult. It would be difficult for ed schools to dissent from the cult (in the unlikely event they would want to) since they are enmeshed with myriad cultist "professional" [sic] organizations.

In what could be called a folie a deux, ed schools are accredited by an outfit called NCATE that makes sure sound teacher preparation is prevented.

Here is an excerpt from a piece on ed schools:

Every state has laws mandating the statewide assessment of students, which implies the importance of academic achievement. Simultaneously, the education schools and various state agencies promote a student-centered instructional philosophy that is incompatible with this emphasis.

Currently, forty-eight states have a cooperative agreement with NCATE that calls for the joint accreditation of education schools. An examination of the NCATE standards makes it clear that the primary quality that is deemed necessary for accreditation is commitment to the principles of progressive education and student centered instruction.

NCATE standards not only do not include any requirement that an education school prepare its graduates to increase the academic achievement of their students, they demand practices that are more likely to decrease it. An education school that demonstrated a commitment to preparing its students to implement instructional methods that led to enhanced academic achievement in the classroom might not be accredited.

Likewise, many states provide bonuses to teachers who obtain NBPTS certification. They do this with the belief that this certification is indicative of a higher skilled teacher who can lead his or her students to higher academic achievement. What they do not realize is that this program demands practices that are antithetical to student academic achievement. A primary requirement for this distinction is that the teacher avoid any form of direct instruction

Tribe of Dan

This is all so strange.
The methods used in these places are akin to osteomancy and hepatoscopy. As a dweller in a House of Edland, the more I learn, the more bewildered I become. Before decided to go a second round with Edland in pursuit of administration certification (?), I taught five years in a very ethnically diverse, rural high school. The average senior (only 30% made it that far) was 19 years old. Of the kids that I taught, I can honestly say that no more than 10% (about 70 out of the 700 that I had in five years) could actually read well enough to comprehend anything approaching high school level material. Being a social studies teacher, needless to say I was crippled.
How could I expound the organics of feudalism, the complexities of the Reformation or the intellectual beauty of the Elizabethan era when my kids were tripping over words like "element", "form", "aspect" or "dictate?"
I am human. At first, I cursed the kids, then the parents, then their elementary and middle school teachers. However, the fault lies elsewhere. As Dr. P says, it is here, in Edland.
I have heard of a symbolic frame where organizations can be viewed as theater (daily make-believe performances delivered on cue), carnivals (lots of seedyness and distractions) and tribes (complete with rites, rituals, cultisms and shamans).
Is there such a thing as Organization Darwinism? That is, can this animal survive when it is only fictionally strong? Could this self-breeding organism continue after the point where the majority of citizens are functionally illiterate?
Makes me wonder….

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