Thursday, August 10, 2006

Survivor: Educationville

Nothing beats a game where contestants get to vote each other off an island, out of a house, or back into irrelevancy. So today, you will have your chance to play Survivor: Educationville with me. I am your host, Mr. McNamar.
Currently in Educationville we have the following players:

Students: Students come as a package, unless you live in a really wealthy community. The student section of Educatioville is made up of English Language Learners, Special Education students, rich kids, poor kids, healthy kids, unhealthy kids, motivated kids, unmotivated kids, high IQ kids, low IQ kids, athletes, band "geeks", get the picture.
Teachers: Teachers also come as a package. The teacher group of Educationville is made up of content area teachers, old and young teachers, newbies and tenured, traditionally certified and alternately certified, more effective and less effective.
Administrators: Again, a package deal. This group consists of former coaches, teachers, and "outiseders". There are dictators, collaborators, recluses, and leaders. Some are effective, others are not.
Central Office Staff: (Package deal) Unfortunately, we did not have room for secretaries. The Central Office Staff has superintendants of all qualities, assistant sups', curriculum directors, assessment directors, athletic directors, human resource managers, and any other "big wig."
Board of Education: (Package deal) Wonderful people who run for this political institute. Some are moms, dads, business people, etc.
Politicians: (Package deal) From the President to the town mayor. All have arrived in Educatioville for the competetion.
Education Theorists: (Package deal) You know them as "researchers." Most have never taught a day in their life, but their research must be valued. They spout out opinions, defend their position, and criticize Educationville for its failure to teach every kid everything that is important. Some even have blogs to tout their ideas and villify everyone but the student. *oops, I'm not supposed to make comments, just host the show. I retract the last statement.

Okay, Educationville is full. We don't have room for anyone else. Let the game begin. It works like this: there are no challenges, or dramatic music. You must simply decide who to vote out of Educatioville. You must support your reasons with your research based opinion. One might think the Theorists have an edge because they do these really time consuming and expensive experiments, but as host, I value actual experience. So, off you go.


At 2:37 PM , Blogger KDeRosa said...

You know there's an eerily parallel between education researchers and medical researchers. Like, education researchers or "theorists" most of the medical researchers aren't practictioners. Most aren't practicing doctors and haven't seen a patient -- ever.

You have your pharmacologists who invent drugs used by doctors and medical device inventors who invent medical devices that get used by doctors, and you have medical researchers who do much of the underlying medical research that doctors rely upon when treating patients. Most practicing doctors know they are not qualified to do medical research because they do not have the necessary training, so they leave that messy work to those that do.

Practicing doctors actually follow the medical research that others are doing and use the medical devices and drugs invented by others. Patients are cured. Oddly enough doctors aren't resentful and have no ideological problems working with non-doctors.

On the other hand, most teachers aren't qualified to do education research because they too haven't had the necessary training. But instead of following the research of others, they ignore it in favor of ideological biases. Teachers tend to be resentful when others point this out, along with the inevitable fact that too many students aren't learning as a result. Nonetheless, many teachers have blogs where they spout opinions that non-teachers don't know anything about education and shouldn't have opinions different from the all-knowing teachers who know best.

But here's the part I don't understand. I'm wondering why the medical profession has progressed so much faster than the education profession. It was not that long ago that doctors (of the long robe) acted much like modern teachers with the same predictable results.

At 2:57 PM , Blogger Mr. McNamar said...

Come on KD, don't get upset. Just answer the question--it is a simple one. Which group has the least amount of impact on Educatioville? Which group would you toss out?

At 7:59 PM , Blogger KDeRosa said...

You know, I never actually made it down to the last paragraph.

Ok, I'm game.

The answer is simple.

We vote the students off the island. Then we blow up the island because no one remaining on the island is of any educational use.

Then we start over again from scratch without the troublemakers.

At 9:47 AM , Blogger Mr. McNamar said...

I almost like the idea. But, if we blow up the island and start over, the group that I left out, unintentionally, the Teacher's Union, would take over starting up the new Educationville.

At 10:06 AM , Blogger KDeRosa said...

I had noticed that little omission.

The union's ability to take over is dependent on whetehr we repeat the past mistake of letting governemnt run the schools. In recent years unions have had a difficult time convicing private sector workers to become unionized.

You also forgot the include Ed schools which should be the first ones to get dynamited. Getting rid of ed schools frees up would-be teachers to pursue a more useful undergraduate degree. Pedagogy can be learned on the job which is the current reality anyway.

At 11:20 AM , Blogger Mr. McNamar said...

I could have lived with fewer Ed. classes! Man, the more you look at it, the more you realize how many people are trying to fit into Educationville.
Okay, so bye-bye Ed. schools in week one. Bye-bye, Unions in week two. I'd then say, bye-bye, politicians in week three. In week four, I'd vote off the School Board. Week five would see the Central Office gone. In week six, I'd say "peace out" to the researchers. Like you said, pedagogy can be learned on the job. Week seven would see the administrators go. And then I'd vote the teachers out. Leaving the students to use the inquiry and Socratic methods to "discover" what truths are left!

At 11:27 AM , Blogger graycie said...

Then you've got -- oooh, what was it called? Oh yeah, Lord of the Flies. Maybe that wasn't fiction -- maybe it was . . . research?


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home