Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Good example

I hate to link to a good example of how not to write (and, by extension, think) but this blog is too good to pass up.

Lots of examples:

Mood affiliation: "Tough echoes the arguments of the corporate education reform movement. . . . He gives the elite and powerful the ultimate excuse to do nothing about structural problems of poverty."
(The author thinks we should instead give teachers an excuse to do nothing because the only way to  help poor/minority students is solving "structural problems.")

Vague buzzwords: "KIPP’s curriculum is not based in social justice, in teaching students about oppression, racism, or class structures."
(All of these words sound like they mean something, class and structures have clear meaning but what is a class structure? Racism has meaning in everyday language, but here it is either jargon or gibberish.)

Blame Game: "At KIPP, if you do not exhibit the correct “character” it is YOUR fault, and YOUR fault alone."
The blame game can be fun, David Jones has a fun article that reinvents the history of Amerindian-European interaction because he thinks traditional history doesn't blame white people enough. But the blog is a commentary on a man who wants to fix problems not find someone to blame for them.

Stupidity: "There is no conversation about WHY the children (often rightfully so) are feeling the way they are.  There is no talk about historical oppression or institutional racism. . . . Why not create curriculum that is so engaging and relevant that children discover a joy in learning?"
This one is far and away the most important. The author wants to tell kids to blame history, white oppressors, institutions, etc. for their problems. Yet at the same time she wants kids to enjoy learning and be happy. She is ignorant of all the research on happiness and depression. People who are taught to have an external locus of control feel powerless, not empowered, and people who complain all day are miserable, not happy. KIPP teaches children that they can succeed if they work hard to empower them. It teaches them to give thanks, not whine, because that gratitude is a key to happiness.

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