Some Thoughts On Education From Various Authors

“Have you ever been at sea in a dense fog, when it seemed as if a tangible white darkness shut you in and the great ship, tense and anxious, groped her way toward the shore with plummet and sounding-line, and you waited with beating heart for something to happen? I was like that ship before my education began, only I was without compass or sounding line, and no way of knowing how near the harbor was. “Light! Give me light!” was the wordless cry of my soul, and the light of love shone on me in that very hour.”

Helen Keller

“Aim for success, not perfection. Never give up your right to be wrong, because then you will lose the ability to learn new things and move forward with your life. Remember that fear always lurks behind perfectionism.”

David M. Burns

“The first problem for all of us, men and women, is not to learn, but to unlearn.”

Gloria Steinem

“If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around.”

Jim Rohn

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

Mark Twain


Book Of Interest: Schools On Trial By Nikhil Goyal

Book Of Interest: Schools On Trial By Nikhil Goyal

Schools On Trial by twenty year old Nikhal Goyal attacks how we are using the principle of teach to the test and are stifling our student’s creativity and freedom to learn because of it. He prescribes taking the common sense approach of using a student’s gifts and applying them to their drive and passion in maximizing learning.

He explores, at his own high school, Syosset in Long Island, New York, and which was ranked by Newsweek as the 143rd best high school in the United States, the downside of high school education as it entails cliques, bullying and other negative aspects of our social world and how it causes our educational system to further deteriorate. This book shows the reader the destruction of standardized education and its effects on our country and its creativity.

This book came out on February 16th, and I look forward to reporting on it further. Here is a video from the author talking about his book.

Factoids Of The Day: 5.23.2016

From The Atlantic, June, 2016:

“The Eviction Curse”

“In 1970, about 15 percent of urban families lived in neighborhoods that were either extremely poor or extremely wealthy. That figure has risen to 34 percent by 2012. Among black Americans, the odds of escaping the poorest enclaves are grim: Four out of five black children growing up in such places have caregivers who were raised in similar neighborhoods. Meanwhile, the number of households within gated communities is up by more than half since 2001.”

From The Atlantic, June 2016

“How Kids Really Succeed”

“In 2010, more than a tenth of all public-high school students nationwide were suspended at least once. … African American students, for example, are suspended three times as often as white students. In Chicago public high schools (which have particularly good and well-analyzed data on suspensions), 27 percent of students who live in the city’s poorest neighborhoods received an out-of-school suspension during the 2013-2014 school year, as did 30 percent of students with a reported personal history of abuse or neglect. Sixty percent of Chicago’s out-of-school suspensions in public high schools are for infractions that don’t involve violence or even a threat of violence: They are for talking back to teachers, violating school rules, and disruptive behavior.”

Some Thoughts On Education From Various Authors

“I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.”

Maya Angelou

“Intelligence plus character-that is the goal of true education.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

“A good head and good heart are always a formidable combination. But when you add to that a literate tongue or pen, then you have something very special.”

Nelson Mandela

“Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil.”

C.S. Lewis

“Without education, we are in a horrible and deadly danger of taking educated people seriously.”

G.K. Chesterton

Books On Interest: Education and Poverty

The Teacher Wars: A History Of America’s Most Embattled Profession by Dana Goldstein

The author uses history to point out to us how teachers have been, not only now, but over the past two centuries, an embattled profession and approaches such as merit raises, getting rid of veteran teachers, and charter schools have all been used in the past with little or no success.

I have included a video with the author discussing the book:

$2.00 A Day:Living On Almost Nothing In America by Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer

Did you know that there are over 1.5 million American families and over 3 million children that exist on $2.00 per day? I will be honest, I had no clue! The authors show us an America that shows us families in survival mode and that have to come up with creative ways to make money in order to make a below poverty wage. This goes along with what has become a major topic in our country about inequality.


Currently Reading: The Smartest Kids In The World By Amanda Ripley

These students in Bong County, Liberia, study ...

These students in Bong County, Liberia, study by candlelight. They are part of the Accelerated Learning Program in the country, an effort to compress several years of education for older students who missed school during Liberia’s civil war. An education partnership between the United States and Liberia has used a mix of formal and non-formal education approaches. The participants in programs are funded by USAID and the President’s Education Initiative. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I began this book on Thanksgiving morning and right off the bat I am very intrigued as the author follows three American exchange students who go to the following countries: Finland, South Korea, and Poland. I am very interested in this because as I have stated before, our county spends approximately 100 million dollars a year on education and we do have some bright spots but overall, in my opinion, we are struggling.

I finished the book at midnight and these are my two takeaways: The first is about the stringent standards teachers must attain in Finland, specifically.

From page 85:

“Today, Finland’s education programs are even more selective, on the order of MIT. It was hard to overstate the implications that cascaded from this one fact. Just one out of every twenty education schools was located at a highly selective institution in the United States. Far more than that had no admission standards at all. In other words, to educate our children, we invited anyone—no matter how poorly educated they were —to give it a try. The irony was revealing, a bit like recruiting flight instructors who had never successfully landed a plane, then wondering why so many planes were crashing.”

From page 89:

“The Finns decided that the only way to get serious about education was to select highly educated teachers, the best and brightest of each generation, and train them rigorously. So, that’s what they did. It was a radically obvious strategy that few countries have attempted.”

From page 93:

“When Kim (she was the foreign exchange student that went from Oklahoma to Finland) was starting kindergarten in 2000, ten out of ten new Finnish teachers had graduated in the top third of their high school classes; only two out of ten American teachers had done so. Incredibly, at some U.S. colleges, students had to meet higher academic standards to play football than to become teachers.”

The second takeaway for me was the rigor these countries showed for academics as compared to the U.S. which places a higher priority, in my opinion, on sports.

From page 118:

Sports were central to American students’ lives and school cultures in a way in which they were not in most education superpowers. Exchange students agreed almost universally on this point. Nine out of ten international students I surveyed said that U.S. kids placed a higher priority on sports, and six out of ten American exchange students agreed with them. Even in middle school, other researchers had found, American students spent double the amount of time playing sports as Koreans.”

From page 118:

“WIthout a doubt, sports brought many benefits, including lessons in leadership and persistence, not to mention exercise. In most U.S. high schools, however, only a minority of students actually played sports. So they weren’t getting the exercise, and the U.S. obesity rates reflected as much. And those valuable life lessons, the ones about leadership and persistence, could be taught through rigorous academic work, too, in ways that were more applicable to the real world. In many U.S. schools, sports instilled leadership and persistence in one group of kids, while draining focus and resources from academics for everyone. The lesson wasn’t that sports couldn’t coexist with education; it was that sports had nothing to do with education.”

This book is a must-read for decision makers in their community’s educational system such as school boards, superintendents, and funding bodies. I definitely give this 5 stars out of 5, primarily because of the thought-provoking questions it brought to the reader.