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Thread: In America, Nerds are Unpopular Because Schools are Prisons

  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Dave, please tell me that your attribution of this quote to me (highlighted in bold blue, above) was simply an error, and not a deliberate falsification.

    I said *nothing* about research refuting Graham. Rather, I've read countless articles and research pieces on education, none painting a "Lord of the Flies" picture that Graham describes as follows.
    You said “The "penal setting" that you and Graham cite runs counter to what I've observed, counter to the research I've read, and counter to what educational leaders ranging from Duncan to Ravitch to Gates are pursuing to improve our schools.”

    I interpreted “runs counter to” to mean “refutes”. You now claim “runs counter to” means “makes no mention of”. Readers of this thread can decide which interpretation of "runs counter to" is the more reasonable.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Not only could I not cite in any practical way cite what I've read, doing so would mean nothing, as the absence of proof is not remotely the same thing as proof of absence.
    So in summary, you’ve dismissed the many documented first-person accounts supporting Graham’s characterization of the popularity contest that arises from a social background as counterproductive from an educational perspective; your counterargument is that
    • none of the research you’ve read mentions this characterization
    • none of Duncan, Ravitch, or Gates have mentioned this characterization


    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    But that's my point: to my knowledge, there is no research supporting Graham's hyperbolic and teacher-insulting rant. The onus is on him--and others who make the school-prison comparison--to back the contention up. Failing that, we're simply playing around in opinionland.
    Consistent first person accounts in significant numbers constitute evidence.

    In the 19th century, there was no research on the conflict between quantum mechanics and general relativity. Physicists of that era were not yet aware of either quantum mechanics or general relativity, much less the conflict between them. In the same way, today’s educators are largely unaware of the negative impact that the popularity contests in their schools have on the educational process; thus the absence of research in this area is not surprising.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by DHBernstein View Post
    So in summary, you’ve dismissed the many documented first-person accounts supporting Graham’s characterization of the popularity contest that arises from a social background as counterproductive from an educational perspective; your counterargument is that
    • none of the research you’ve read mentions this characterization
    • none of Duncan, Ravitch, or Gates have mentioned this characterization
    Well, technically, comments under an online article constitute documented first-person accounts. I took a look at the comments under this article on Senator John Kerry's appointment to the Joint Select Committee. By your logic, these comments prove that Kerry is a "fraud," "tax cheat," "troll," and so on.

    As I've repeatedly said, over the course of my reasonably extensive involvement with education, I haven't come across sentiments such as Graham's. The absence of these sentiments in no way disproves Graham's hypothesis, just as Graham in no way proves his hypothesis.

  3. #63
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    Here's an interesting take on successful education reforms:
    http://www.salon.com/news/david_siro...wagner_finland

    It agrees with much of what I think each of us thinks: that high quality teachers are the cornerstone of success. So how do we get there? Finland went from underperforming to top of the world in one generation.

    If Finland's approach translates, it's not about any of the things being focused on now. So it's not about testing. It's not about long school days or long school years. It's not about business leaders defining the reforms. We need to focus on the teachers (and not said, but I would add, also the technologies that will help enable our teachers to be even better)
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 08-15-2011 at 12:12 PM. Reason: fix typo

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    Unfortunately, Kim, I don't see Finland's approach (which I've discussed here) translating: in short, the US economy has not evolved to attract as many high quality teachers as we need. That said, their focus (on teacher quality) is clearly one key domain in which to target improvement.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    Well, technically, comments under an online article constitute documented first-person accounts. I took a look at the comments under this article on Senator John Kerry's appointment to the Joint Select Committee. By your logic, these comments prove that Kerry is a "fraud," "tax cheat," "troll," and so on.

    As I've repeatedly said, over the course of my reasonably extensive involvement with education, I haven't come across sentiments such as Graham's. The absence of these sentiments in no way disproves Graham's hypothesis, just as Graham in no way proves his hypothesis.
    I said "Consistent first person accounts in significant numbers constitute evidence."

    This is not the same as "Consistent first person accounts in significant numbers constitute proof."

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim Reichelt View Post
    Here's an interesting take on successful education reforms:
    http://www.salon.com/news/david_siro...wagner_finland

    It agrees with much of what I think each of us thinks: that high quality teachers are the cornerstone of success. So how do we get there? Finland went from underperforming to top of the world in one generation.

    If Finland's approach translates, it's not about any of the things being focused on now. So it's not about testing. It's not about long school days or long school years. It's not about business leaders defining the reforms. We need to focus on the teachers (and not said, but I would add, also the technologies that will help enable our teachers to be even better)
    The world's best teacher might be able to stretch the typical student's lecture-mode attention span limit from 10 minutes to 20 minutes. This teacher's effectiveness will be attenuated if his or her students are groggy and/or resentful from being awakened too early. This teacher's effectiveness will be further attenuated by having to teach a class whose students are at wildly different interest and skill levels because they've been grouped by chronological age. It is difficult to retain any high-caliber professional in an environment that he or she knows is attenuating their effectiveness.

    As is the case with most complex problems, there is no single silver bullet that will "fix" our educational system.

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