Tag Archives: L3

RIP Jaime Escalante, 1930–March 30 2010

Jaime Escalante was born in La Paz, Bolivia in 1930. Both of his parents were teachers who worked in a small Aymara Indian village called Achacachi. He became a teacher himself, and developed a widespread reputation for excellence during 12 years of teaching math and physics in Bolivia.

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Mr. Escalante’s many teaching awards include the Presidential Medal for Excellence in Education, the Andres Bello Prize from the Organization of American States and the Free Spirit Award from the Freedom Forum, a foundation affiliated with USA Today and dedicated to the preservation of the First Amendment. He was also inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 1999.

In the spring of 1998, Mr. Escalante announced his retirement from teaching.

Mr. Escalante passed away on Tuesday, March 30, 2010.

In 1974, Mr. Escalante was hired as a basic mathematics teacher at Garfield High School, a troubled inner-city school in East Los Angeles. His spectacular success teaching advanced mathematics to gang members and other students who had been considered "unteachable" attracted national attention. When his story was told in the acclaimed film "Stand and Deliver" (1988), Escalante became a national hero.
From 1974 until 1991, Mr. Escalante taught in the L.A. Unified School System. From 1991 until 1998, he taught algebra and calculus for the Sacramento Unified School District.
To reach more students, he became the host of the acclaimed PBS television series, "FUTURES". "FUTURES" introduces students to the exciting and astonishing variety of math and science-based careers. It became one of the most popular classroom programs in the history of PBS and has been honored with more than 50 awards from educational and professional organizations including the highest honor in the broadcasting field, the George Foster Peabody Award. He also appeared in two family specials for PBS, "Math…Who Needs It?!" and "Living and Working in Space: The Countdown Has Begun." Both have received multiple awards and continue to be popular among teachers, parents and students.
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Meece & Daniels, Chapter Overviews


Chapter overviews taken from http://highered.mcgraw-hill.com/sites/0073525766/student_view0/

Chapter 1 Overview:  Studying Child and Adolescent Development

What teachers believe about child development varies considerably and influences their teaching practices in the classroom. Children represent a large proportion of the poor population in the United States, and more and more of our schoolchildren are from African American, Latino, and other minority backgrounds. These changing demographics have significant implications for our schools.

Child development experts use various theories to explain the changes that occur over time in children. These theories differ in both the approaches they adopt and the conclusions they draw about key issues in child development. There are biological, psychoanalytic, behavioral, cognitive, contextual, social-cultural, and ecological theories about children’s development. It is important for teachers to have knowledge of all the various theories because children’s behavior is better explained by a combination of theories than by any one theory alone.

It is also important that teachers be skilled at judging the quality of research studies in the area of child development so they can be critical consumers of the research they encounter at conferences and in articles. Child development has been studied using various research designs and methods of data collection. Each has advantages and disadvantages and should be chosen based on the questions the study seeks to answer. Research studies involving children and adults must follow a set of ethical guidelines, and it is important for potential teachers and parents to be aware of these.

Chapter 2 Overview:  Physical Development

Chapter 2 addresses the physical development that occurs from the prenatal period through adolescence. Development during this period is largely guided by genetics but is also influenced by interactions with the environment. During the prenatal period, genetic and chromosomal abnormalities can lead to genetic diseases and disorders. Environmental conditions such as maternal nutrition, alcohol consumption, or smoking can interfere with normal fetal development, putting the developing fetus at risk for various physical and cognitive disabilities.

The human brain continues to develop through early adulthood. The area of the brain that controls motor movement develops first; the largest part of the brain, the cerebral cortex, which controls thought processes, is the last to develop.

Students with specific learning disabilities or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) present special challenges to educators. It is important that teachers not treat students with learning disabilities as if they were lazy, irresponsible, or unintelligent. The causes of learning disabilities are difficult to determine, but research indicates that they are influenced by heredity, problems during pregnancy, and incidents after birth.

Height, weight, and muscle mass are about the same for boys and girls until the onset of puberty. Puberty, the time when a young person becomes capable of sexual reproduction, brings about physical changes and often has a psychological impact on adolescents as well. Adults and children alike may evaluate children based on cultural stereotypes of physical attractiveness, affecting children’s social relationships and school achievement. Early or late physical maturation can be particularly stressful for young people, resulting in them feeling "out of sync" with their peers.

Several health problems can be of particular concern during childhood and adolescence, including eating disorders, obesity, substance abuse, adolescent sexuality and pregnancy, and depression and suicide. Researchers believe schools must play a larger role in preventing these problems.

Chapter 3 Overview:  Cognitive Development:  Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s Theories

Chapter 3 covers two major theories of cognitive development: those put forth by Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. Many current reforms in educational research are based on a constructivist approach to learning, whereby children must construct their own understandings of the world. Many of these reforms are based on research influenced by the theories of Piaget and Vygotsky.

Prior to the introduction of Piaget’s theory, children were thought to be passive organisms shaped and molded by their environment. Piaget taught us that children act as "little scientists," trying to make sense of their world through hands-on experimentation. He believed cognitive development involved not simply quantitative changes in facts and skills but rather major transformations in the way children organize knowledge and make sense of their world. These changes occurred, according to Piaget, in four major stages of development: sensorimotor, preoperations, concrete operations, and formal operations. Piaget believed all children proceed through the four stages in the same sequence, but that there is a great deal of individual and cultural variation in the amount of time children spend in a particular stage.

Lev Vygotsky was an early critic of Piaget’s theory. He believed that knowledge is not individually constructed but co-constructed between people as they interact. Social interactions with more knowledgeable peers and adults provide the main vehicles for intellectual development. He believed that language was the most important psychological tool influencing cognitive development. One of Vygotsky’s most important contributions to education is the zone of proximal development, which represents the gap between what children can do on their own and what they can do with the assistance of others. By working in a child’s "zone," an adult or more skilled peer can stretch a child’s ability to successfully complete a task through guided participation and scaffolding.

While both Piaget and Vygotsky agreed that knowledge must be mentally constructed by the child, Vygotsky placed much more emphasis on the role of social interactions and language in the construction process. Vygotsky also believed that learning precedes development, while Piaget believed that the stage of cognitive development limits what children are capable of learning.

Chapter 4 Overview:  Cognitive Development:  Information Processing and Intelligence Theories

In the last chapter the cognitive development theories of Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky were covered, along with the contributions of these theories to current educational reforms and practices. Chapter 4 examines two additional theories of cognitive development—information processing and intelligence theories—and the implications of these theories for teachers.

Information processing theories focus on the flow of information through the cognitive system. Developmental changes in children’s attention, memory, problem-solving skills, and knowledge base are discussed, and the various components of the information processing system are described. The role of prior knowledge in cognitive development is also explored. Information processing theories provide us with a number of implications for teaching practice that can enhance children’s attentiveness, memory, and problem-solving skills.

While looking at broad theories of cognitive development it is important to keep in mind that there are individual differences in cognitive development. Chapter 4 addresses how cognitive differences are assessed and interpreted, different conceptions of intelligence, and stability and change in intelligence. The research related to genetic and environmental influences on intelligence is reviewed, examining such factors as the home environment, parenting behavior, and the effects of early intervention and later schooling on intelligence.

Ethnic and gender-based variations in intellectual abilities and academic achievement are described. Possible explanations for these variations are presented, along with the role that schools can take in creating learning environments that provide equal resources, encouragement, and opportunities to all children regardless of race, ethnic background, or gender. The chapter ends with a look at the role of computers in children’s learning.

Chapter 5 Overview:  Language and Literacy Development

Language development begins at birth. All children (except those with exceptional learning needs) acquire language. Adults foster language development in children by talking to them from birth, by reinforcing their efforts to engage in conversations, and by modeling language use. Children all follow a similar sequence of language development as they make and test hypotheses about language on their way to constructing the rules of their language.

Language is learned at home, but literacy, the ability to read and write, is typically learned at school. And while all children acquire language, not all children will become literate. The notion of emergent literacy holds that both spoken and written language are learned from birth. To promote literacy, young children need to have a print-rich environment and many informal opportunities to interact with print prior to formal literacy instruction in school. At school, teachers need to create print-rich classroom environments, provide many authentic reading and writing activities whose purpose is communication, and explicitly teach literacy skills and strategies.

Fostering language and literacy development in linguistically diverse populations can pose significant challenges to teachers. The interactional patterns in classrooms can be significantly different from those that children from linguistically diverse populations are accustomed to in their home and community, leaving students feeling confused, frustrated, and unable to participate. English language learners need a supportive school environment, and different instructional approaches must be used and customized for the diversity of the students served.

Chapter 6 Overview:  Self-Concept, Identity, and Motivation

Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development provides a framework for understanding children’s social and emotional development. As they mature, children face developmental issues that must be resolved. Parents play an important role in how their children resolve these issues. When parents are supportive and caring, children learn that the world is a place that can be trusted and that they are worthy of care and support, and they feel confident to explore their environment and initiate new activities. Inconsistent, overly strict, or overly permissive parenting is associated with negative resolution of developmental issues.

Schools play an important role in the development of children’s self-concepts and self-esteem. Current programs to promote positive self-esteem are cognitively based, focusing on the attributions students make for their successes and failures. Children with high self-esteem and positive self-concepts tend to be more highly motivated and more successful in school, while low levels of self-esteem are correlated with a range of problem behaviors, including poor school attendance and achievement, peer rejection, juvenile delinquency, loneliness, depression, and teenage pregnancy.

The developmental task to be resolved during adolescence and early adulthood is the formation of an identity. Adolescents must integrate childhood identities with personal desires and societal opportunities and expectations in order to develop a sense of who they are and who they will become. A positively valued ethnic identity is important for a strong, positive, and stable self-identity in minority youths.

Motivating students to learn is one of the most difficult problems teachers face. Achievement motivation has numerous definitions based on different motivational theories. Most contemporary theories of motivation focus on students’ beliefs, values, goals, and cognitive processes. An individual’s achievement motivation can be affected by differences in ability, early learning experiences, parenting practices, gender, ethnicity, race, and socioeconomic status. Students’ achievement motivation tends to decline as they progress in school.

Chapter 7 Overview:  Peer Relations and Moral Development

Children need to develop the ability to understand the perspective of others in order to form social relationships. By helping students understand the perspectives of others, teachers aid students in developing positive peer relations. Peer relations have an important influence on school success by enhancing children’s feelings of competence, efficacy, and self-worth. Poor peer relations can lead to low self-esteem, depression, poor school achievement, dropping out of school, and delinquent behavior. Children who are aggressive tend to be rejected by peers and have poor peer relations. Teachers can enhance positive peer relations in the classroom with the frequent use of cooperative learning activities, providing social skills training to neglected and rejected peers, and by modeling and reinforcing prosocial behavior in the classroom.

Teachers and schools influence children’s conceptions of moral behavior and ethical values. Kohlberg proposed a theory of moral development organized into three levels. Moral development, in Kohlberg’s view, progressed from self-centered, to rule-oriented, to principled reasoning. Carol Gilligan has challenged Kohlberg’s theory because it is based on men, and women may reason differently about moral dilemmas because of being socialized to consider the well-being of others, making judgments based on an ethic of care. Nel Noddings developed ideas about caring in schools based on the ethic of care. In her view, schools must become caring communities where children feel understood, respected, and recognized.

Character education and service learning programs are two increasingly popular ways for schools to foster the moral development of children and adolescents.

Chapter 8 Overview:  The Family:  Partners in Education

Families have the primary responsibility for socializing the child to be a productive and competent member of society. Children are increasingly being raised in single-parent families, often headed by single mothers facing economic difficulties.

There are cultural variations in family values and child-rearing practices. Generally speaking, African American families emphasize assertiveness, independence, and self-confidence. Hispanic American families value social harmony, interdependence, family obligation, conformity, and cooperation. Asian Americans also value social harmony and interdependence, as well as emphasizing academic success. Native American family values differ by tribe, but most families emphasize harmony and connectedness and respect for elders.

Family environments can be characterized by levels of warmth, responsiveness, and control. Constellations of parenting behaviors along these dimensions form parenting styles. An authoritative parenting style is associated with the most positive outcomes for children. During times of family transitions such as divorce and remarriage, schools can provide continuity and stability for children.

More mothers with children under 18 are working outside the home than ever before. Most studies show no negative effects on children’s development if the mother’s work is not associated with decreased monitoring of children’s activities, and if children receive high quality child care. After-school child care programs can lead to improved school attendance and achievement, particularly for low-income children.

Active parental involvement throughout their children’s education is important for school success. Teachers and schools should strive to involve parents at school through regular communication, recruiting classroom volunteers, encouraging parents to help children with learning at home, and including parents in school governance.

Chapter 9 Overview:  Supporting the Development of Children and Youth in School

The ecological model of human development introduced in Chapter 1 has been particularly influential in the recent school-reform model of James Comer and Edward Zigler, which have been combined into a single model referred to as CoZi. In keeping with the ecological model, emphasis is being placed on quality teacher-student relationships as integral to the school and life success of children and adolescents.

It is just as important that teachers do what they can to foster these relationships as it is for them to develop effective curriculums, instructional practices, and classroom management strategies. An understanding of child and adolescent development is essential to achieving this goal.

Classroom teachers actively participate in identifying the special learning needs of their students and figuring out how to accommodate them. These accommodations can take the form of teacher-directed, peer-assisted, or self-directed learning.

Together with families and neighborhood communities, schools play a vital role in fostering resiliency and promoting healthy development in children and adolescents. Middle schools and high schools that are successful in doing this have many factors in common, including, among other things, positive student-teacher relations, high expectations for all students, active partnerships with families and communities, and policies that promote the overall health and wellness, as well as the academic progress, of their students.

There are a number of active national and local organizations that can help teachers become more effective advocates for children and youth.

EDU6989 Final Paper

Can be found here.

April 27 Journalizing




Taking Sides

Issue 8:  Should School Discipline Policies Be Stricter and Include “Zero Tolerance” Provisions?

Public Agenda, from “Teaching Interrupted,”  Public Agenda.  (May 2004)

Russell Skiba, from “Zero Tolerance:  The Assumptions and the Facts,”  Center for Evaluation & Education Policy (Summer 2004)

“It’s almost unanimously accepted among teachers (97%) that a school neds a good discipline and behavior in order to flourish, and 78% of parents agree.”

“Lack of discipline in schools engenders other serious costs as well.  The findings in Teaching Interrupted reveal that problems with student discipline and behavior are driving substantial numbers of teachers out of the profession.”

[type summary of arguments here]

Personal Opinion (before reading):  I think the difficulty here will arise from the inability of one person or a limited number of people to carry out effective due process.  Emotions flare, time is tight, there are many observers, and so fairness is not often guaranteed.  For justice to be effective it needs to be swift.  Zero tolerance allows for sentencing to be quick and to not quibble over the level of involvement in the infraction of all parties.  I do not want to see a school bogged down in legal procedures, but I also do not the education process hindered by a relatively small percentage of those who need more intensive direction and attention.  As such I am probably leaning here towards the yes side.  There are a majority of students for which stricter policies are no issue.  There will be a few caught in the gray area that might have heretofore not been affected.  There are a few caught in the wrong that need to get a appropriate message.

Personal Opinion (after reading): 

Issue 15:  Does Participation in Sports Provide Positive Benefits to Youth?

Jordan D. Metzl, and
Carol Shookhoff, from “The Benefits of Youth Sports,”  eNotAlone (2002).

Josephson Institute of Ethics, from “What Are Your Children Learning?  the Impact of High School Sports on the Values and Ethics of High School Athletes",”  Survey of High School Athletes, (February 2007).

[type summary of arguments here]

[type summary of arguments here]

Personal Opinion (before reading):  Anyone who has taken EDU6120 from Dr. Scheuermann knows how he feels (very PRO!) about athletics for students.  Thus I must tread lightly here!  But first, let me give some context.  I myself did not participate in school sports, at any level.  I became interested in cycling first in college and enjoyed a few years of regular activity.  I suppose the PRO side of this argument will posit that competition and teamwork, victory and defeat are lessons that students need to learn in life as well as in school.  Anyone who has ever been the “best” at something knows the elation of that achievement and the arduous path it took to get there.  It takes singlemindedness.  It takes dedication.  However, sports without academics is a powerful temptation as is academics without some sort of physical exercise.  No truly great athlete neglects their mind.  No academic genius can do so without some physical exertion or knowledge of self.  My only question is:  do we need to be so competitive at all levels of school sports?  Is there some other physical activity that does not compete with academics for students’ time?  There was also a recent study

Personal Opinion (after reading): 

Evans, D. (2008).  Taking sides:  Clashing views in teaching and educational practice.  (3rd ed.).  New York, NY:  McGraw Hill.


Teaching to Change the World

Part IV:  Teaching for the Long Haul

Chapter 12:  Teaching to Change the World:  A Profession and a Hopeful Struggle

Personal Opinion (before reading):  This is the last chapter of the book and thus I expect it will be rife with powerful reflection and motivational quotes.  Teachers should be in the game for the long haul, and should go from strength to strength, from success and growth, to recognition and acclaim.  That does not happen in all cases, and the defection rate for new teachers is still significant.  Looking forward to reading the chapter to see if there are some antidotes or preventatives suggested for burnout and frustration.

Personal Opinion (after reading):

I love the quote from Judy Smith (pg 507)

Hey, don’t get me wrong. There was a cost moving from high tech to high school.  In corporate America, luxuries such as fabulous holiday parties and access to the latest technology seduced me for a while.  I love the fast pace, salary, travel, and interesting problem solving.  I learned about business, professionalism, and working with others.  All valuable.  However, that cost, when evaluated in heart and soul dollars, changes.  In high tech, we did not take much time to examine values, biases, and different cultures.  High tech didn’t teach me about human suffering and triumph at the same time.  High tech didn’t expose me to our children and to their critical role in our future and our democracy, or offer intellectual stimulation on history, literacy and politics.  High tech didn’t teach me to be a better human being.  Teach high school does.

This chapter does a good job of highlighting some coping mechanisms a teacher might use to survive in what is admitted by all to be a pathologically dysfunctional career.


At the end of the chapter there is a sidebar excerpt from an essay by Herb Kohl.  Here’s another excerpt that spoke to me from Kohl (




[Bonus]  Chapter 10:  The Community:  Engaging with Families and Neighborhoods.

Personal Opinion (before reading):  I am adding this chapter since I believe this is a key topic, and I was impressed in our class on Diversity (EDU 6133) that we were asked to “throw in the kitchen sink” to get at how we might engage families and neighborhoods.  I think some creativity here is needed, and I am looking for some ideas.

Personal Opinion (after reading): 

Oakes, J. and Lipton, M. (2008).  Teaching to change the world.  (3rd ed.).  New York, NY:  McGraw Hill.

Some Final Items for EDU6133

Here are links to my Sample Lesson Plan Packet, and the Powerpoint for my Presentation in fulfillment of classroom requirements for EDU6133.

Showcase Lesson Packet (Lesson Justification, Lesson Plan, Unit Plan, Classroom and Student Characteristics)

Class Presentation (120 MB PowerPoint, has the movie in it)

What I have Learned from Banks so Far

The biggest lesson I have learned from Banks so far is that there is really no down-side to being a culturally diverse teacher and striving to build a more multicultural education. Especially in math and science, there is an incredibly diverse body of contributors to past and current understanding in both fields. And yet, studies continue to indicate that race, gender, SES all contribute to a student’s prospects for success in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). By not seeking transformative multicultural education, I believe we are impoverishing these fields, that is, we are limiting the progress of ideas in these areas of knowledge by not questioning the cause of limited aspirations of historically marginalized groups. The key to changing this, according to Banks, is to work actively to transform education, to forge equity pedagogy in classrooms across America.

The transformation starts small with building a corps of teachers that value cultural competence, that practice regular and deep content integration in their daily lesson plans. These teachers will not be blind to the diversity in the classroom, but will engage it, and will celebrate it in each individual. They will work to reduce prejudice by interrogating their own assumptions, their students’ assumptions and the assumptions in their texts and sources. The transformation continues as more teachers revise their curricula, differentiating their instruction to recognize and celebrate the backgrounds of the students in their charge. These teachers will encourage others to do the same. They will assume their role as facilitators of knowledge construction to create environments where all students identify that their own implicit cultural assumptions, frames of reference and biases are real and yet they still have a role to play, a contribution to make to form a more just community, a more fair society and a more hospitable world. Finally, progress is assured if the entire school culture is transformed to empower students. We as teachers must strive to increase proportionality in student achievement; to end grouping and labeling practices; to foster healthy interaction of students across ethnic, racial and SES lines. It rests on teachers to start this process of transformation and to see it through.

I am convinced that it is only up-side benefit and positive potential to help inspire students from different race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, spiritual practices, political beliefs and other ideologies. By enfranchising these students, we build a stronger country, a stronger future.


Banks, J.A., & Banks, C. A. M. (2010) Multicultural Education Issues and Perspectives (7th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. p. 22.

President Obama, State of the Union Address, 1/25/2011

Section entitled “Winning the Future: Education” begins at 22:22 on this recording here.

“Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success. But if we want to win the future – if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas – then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.

“Think about it. Over the next ten years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school degree. And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren’t even finishing high school. The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations.  America has fallen to 9th in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us – as citizens, and as parents – are willing to do what’s necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.

“That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It’s family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done.  We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair; [applause] that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.

“Our schools share this responsibility. When a child walks into a classroom, it should be a place of high expectations and high performance. But too many schools don’t meet this test. That’s why instead of just pouring money into a system that’s not working, we launched a competition called Race to the Top.  To all fifty states, we said, “If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we’ll show you the money.”

Race to the Top is the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation. For less than one percent of what we spend on education each year, it has led over 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning. These standards were developed, not by Washington, but by Republican and Democratic governors throughout the country.  And Race to the Top should be the approach we follow this year as we replace No Child Left Behind with a law that is more flexible and focused on what’s best for our kids. [applause]

“You see, we know what’s possible for our children when reform isn’t just a top-down mandate, but the work of local teachers and principals; school boards and communities.

“Take a school like Bruce Randolph in Denver. Three years ago, it was rated one of the worst schools in Colorado; located on turf between two rival gangs. But last May, 97% of the seniors received their diploma. Most will be the first in their family to go to college. And after the first year of the school’s transformation, the principal who made it possible wiped away tears when a student said “Thank you, Mrs. Waters, for showing… that we are smart and we can make it.” [applause]  That’s what good schools can do.  And we want good schools all across the country.

“Let’s also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child’s success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as “nation builders.” Here in America, it’s time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect.  [applause]  We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones.  [applause]    And over the next ten years, with so many Baby Boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.  [applause]

“In fact, to every young person listening tonight who’s contemplating their career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child – become a teacher. Your country needs you.  [applause]

“Of course, the education race doesn’t end with a high school diploma. To compete, higher education must be within reach of every American. [applause]  That’s why we’ve ended the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that went to banks, and used the savings to make college affordable for millions of students.  [applause]   And this year, I ask Congress to go further, and make permanent our tuition tax credit – worth $10,000 for four years of college.  [applause]

“Because people need to be able to train for new jobs and careers in today’s fast-changing economy, we are also revitalizing America’s community colleges. Last month, I saw the promise of these schools at Forsyth Tech in North Carolina. Many of the students there used to work in the surrounding factories that have since left town. One mother of two, a woman named Kathy Proctor, had worked in the furniture industry since she was 18 years old.  And she told me she’s earning her degree in biotechnology now, at 55 years old, not just because the furniture jobs are gone, but because she wants to inspire her children to pursue their dreams too. As Kathy said, “I hope it tells them to never give up.”

“If we take these steps – if we raise expectations for every child, and give them the best possible chance at an education, from the day they’re born until the last job they take – we will reach the goal I set two years ago: by the end of the decade, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.  [applause]

“One last point about education. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens. Some are the children of undocumented workers, who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet live every day with the threat of deportation. Others come here from abroad to study in our colleges and universities. But as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, we send them back home to compete against us. It makes no sense.

“Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows.  [applause]   I know that debate will be difficult and take time. But tonight, let’s agree to make that effort. And let’s stop expelling talented, responsible young people who can staff our research labs, start new businesses, and further enrich this nation.  [applause]


Retrieved January 25, 2011 from <http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/01/25/remarks-president-barack-obama-state-union-address>

Week9 Reflection: Authentic Applications

While reading about Authentic Applications, a reflective assessment strategy, I was reminded of a science fair in which I participated as a grade school student.  The topic of my report was Solar Eclipses, and the event made such an impact on me at the time that I can remember clearly many minute details around the science fair and other exhibits that were there besides my own.  My own exhibit was comprised of a bright light, a globe, and a small foam ball mounted on a bent coat hanger.  I can remember the written report which I had made as well detailing all the notable total eclipses prior to that date.  In particular,  the 1974 total eclipse for Madagascar stands out in my mind (see table below).


Thus, I believe I am proof that this assessment strategy, in my case a science fair, caused serious learnings and impressions that lasted far beyond the event.

Now to bring this assessment strategy forward and apply it to some of our readings this week, I can’t imagine a more powerful way to teach landmark Supreme Court cases then to re-enact them, in public, in a moot court style.  Students could be selected to portray the sides of the case as well as the justices.  They could be asked to review oral arguments for the case and to present or read them (in an interpretive/dramatic fashion if appropriate).

For instance, this week we were asked to read a couple of historic Supreme Court decisions:

Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and
Brown v. Board of Education (1954)

One could imagine that a systematic analysis of the Decision and Dissent in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) would be catalyst to a whole host of interesting conversations.  Not the least of which would be germane to current understanding of race relations in this country.  In choosing which parts of the decision to read or set forward in a public portrayal of the trial, a discussion of the merits of the argument would naturally come forth, and a lesson on how to read/write legal decisions would be in order.  This would have immense educational value.  Consider this from Justice Harlan in Dissent (Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896)

The white race deems itself to be the dominant race in this country. And so it is in prestige, in achievements, in education, in wealth and in power. So, I doubt not, it will continue to be for all time if it remains true to its great heritage and holds fast to the principles of constitutional liberty. But in view of the Constitution, in the eye of the law, there is in this country no superior, dominant, ruling class of citizens. There is no caste here. Our Constitution is color-blind, and neither knows nor tolerates classes among citizens. In respect of civil rights, all citizens are equal before the law. The humblest is the peer of the most powerful. The law regards man as man, and takes no account of his surroundings or of his color when his civil rights as guaranteed by the supreme law of the land are involved. It is therefore to be regretted that this high tribunal, the final expositor of the fundamental law of the land, has reached the conclusion that it is competent for a State to regulate the enjoyment by citizens of their civil rights solely upon the basis of race.

What student would not find their hearts stirred upon reading this document, if not to read it publicly and with a fuller understanding and emotion?

Now consider Brown v. Board (1954), reading the court’s opinion written by Chief Justice Warren, where he comments on the extension of Plessy v. Ferguson which involved railroad conveyance to Brown v. Board which handled education thus:

Today, education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments. Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms.

Suddenly I could imagine the students in a classroom would realize that their very education is a right and a duty upon which the whole of free society rests.  Equality in that venture is of utmost importance.


Plessy v. Ferguson.  163 U.S. 537. (1896).  CornellLaw

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.  347 U.S. 483 (1954). CornellLaw

All Things Considered, no really ALL

The final paper in EDU6120 is due in 17 days.  Let’s review all that we have learned and read together and look for some common themes.

Week Author Key Themes
1 Lecture  
1 Ellis, “Teaching Decision Schumacher, E. F. () Small is beautiful.
The task of education would be first and foremost the transmission of ideas of value, of what to do with our lives.”

Why teach? 
Who teaches?

1 Whitehead, “Aims” We enunciate two educational commandments, “Do not teach too many subjects,” and again, “What you teach, teach thoroughly”.

Discovery has powerful role in education.

1 Lewis, “Tao” Certain common laws and duties have existed or developed in many separate world cultures.
1 RDS, “Sharing Fire” Storytellers and tribal elders have taught:
1. Pervasive spirituality
2. Environmental knowledge
3. Language and moral literature
4. Ceremony and celebration
5. Artistic expression
6. Cyclical time
7. Balanced innovation
1 Ellis & RDS, “Reflective Self-Assessment” Georghiades:  “metacognitive reflection involves the critical revisiting of the learning process”

Even the best activity, the most challenging lesson, will fall short of the mark if we do not give learners opportunities to personalize and capture what they learned.

2 Lecture  
2 Ellis, “Schooling and Education” the phrase “to get an education” is very different from the phrase “to go to school”


2 Plato, ”Breaking Chains” “Whereas our argument shows that the power and capacity of learning exists in the soul already; and that just as the eye was unable to turn from darkness to light without the whole body, so too the instrument of knowledge can only by the movement of the whole soul be turned from the world of becoming into that of being, and learn by degrees to endure the sight of being, and of brightest and best of being, or in other words, of the good.”
2 Aristotle, “Ethics”  
3 Lecture  
3 Ellis, “Nature of Profession” A survey of the teaching profession today:  types of experiences, job availability, salaries, types of schools, public opinion, legal issues, contracts,  professional associations, tenure, etc.
3 Solomon, Proverbs Solomon writes as a father to his son.  His advice is to do righteousness, justice, mercy, to love wisdom and to respect the Lord God.  He describes that as a life worth living.  In Ecclesiastes, he reminds the reader that existence is temporal, and even the noblest of pursuits does not mean that one will escape the final reckoning of God.
3 Jesus, Sermon on the Mount Jesus commends certain virtues in the Beatitudes that have challenged readers for centuries.  His words are revolutionary, but he upholds the spirit of the traditions as well as the letter (jot/tittle)  He proclaims a more excellent way that is counter-intuitive to the extreme, because that is what divine offspring do.
4 Lecture  
4 Ellis, “Educational Reform”  
4 Plutarch, “Education of Children” See Learning Illustrated- Plutarch
Reason, Learning and Nature must be balanced in successful education.  But, study of philosophy is best, especially when combined with politics.  Do not be harsh with children, but mix rebuke with praise.
4 Quintillion, “Institutes”  
5 Lecture  
5 Ellis, Philosophical Perspectives  
5 Luther, “Christian Schools”  
5 Comenius, “Great Didactic”  
6 Lecture  
6 Ellis, “Educational Challenges”  
6 Rousseau, “Emile”  
6 Herbart, “Aim of Instruction”  
7 Lecture RDS cancelled class on Mon 11/8/2010
7 Ellis, “Multicultural Education  
7 Mann, “On Education”  
7 B.T. Washington, “Atlanta Address” “There is no defense or security for any of us except in the highest intelligence and development of all.  If anywhere there are efforts tending to curtail the fullest growth of the Negro, let these efforts be turned into stimulating, encouraging, and making him the most useful and intelligent citizen.  Effort or means so invested will pay a thousand percent interest.  These efforts will be twice blessed—“blessing him that gives and him that takes.”

NOTE:  Washington was later criticized by some for his more moderate approach to reconciliation between the races.  W. E. B. DuBois later started calling this speech the “Atlanta Compromise”.

8 Lecture  
9 Lecture  
10 Lecture  

A Conversation with Mike Williams, Principal, Echo Glen School, Issaquah, WA

Background:  Echo Glen (EG) is a Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration (JRA) facility in Issaquah, WA.  Mike has been Principal there for approximately 6 years, after graduating from SPU as MAT class of 2003.  I posed some questions to Mike in e-mail and he was kind enough to respond not only to those, but also to some other questions I was able to ask via a phone call with him on 11/10/2010.

[John Weisenfeld]  Does Echo Glen (EG) has its own set of teachers that do instruction for the kids while they are there?
[Mike Williams] We are part of the Issaquah School District, so our teachers are actually ISD teachers and part of their union. We currently have 14 teachers in a variety of subjects.

[JW] Does EG have classrooms on site?  Or do they have to go somewhere else?
[MW]  The whole campus is the correctional facility, but unlike many, it’s not fenced in. We’re tucked back in the woods pretty far, so we don’t have many problems with AWOL or unwanted visitors. The residents live in what we call cottages – approximately 16 residents per cottage and there are 13 cottages on campus with only 9 in use at this time. The school buildings are also on site and the students walk up to school each morning. Cottage staff escort the students up and then pick them up at lunch and again at the end of the day. Some of our residents are Maximum Security (about 20 of them) and have 2 classrooms attached to those 2 cottages. Max students can transition to our upper campus school from Maximum Security School as their behavior improves and their sentences allow a less restrictive setting. Once residents get to Echo, they do not generally leave unless they have a court appearance or an off campus medical appointment that can’t be met here.

[JW]  What is the range of ages of the students?
[MW]  Our male residents range in age from 11 to 16 years of age. Our female residents range in age from 11 to 21. We’ve had residents as young as 9 or 10, but that is rare. The male residents go to Maple Lane or Green Hill as they get older. Maple is scheduled to close in the next year or two as a result of budget reductions and reduced enrollment.

[JW]  How many students are there?
[MW] Currently, we have 144, but that changes daily. Students parole and leave, but then are replaced by new or returning students. During my tenure as principal, we’ve had enrollment as high a 192 and as low as 118. Our average for this year is projected to be 133, but JRA has a difficult time making accurate projections as there is never any clear indication as to how many students will be incarcerated over the course of the year.

[JW]  What is a typical school day look like?
[MW]  As much like any other school as we can, but with several differences – probably too many to list, but I’ll try to point out the more significant ones. Our class sizes don’t exceed 11 students. We have 2 mental health classes (one boys and on girls (these do not exceed 9 students and also have a staff escort throughout the school day. Students arrive to school at 7:50 and are released by security via a radio transmission to their first period class. Staff and teachers supervise the walkways while students go to their classes. Between class periods, there is a passing time (2 minutes) and students travel between classes much like a regular school. Attendance is critical and gets called into the office every period – we know where every student is every minute of the day. This is absolutely critical as you can imagine and something we do very well. Teachers have a common planning time and lunch. The students return to their cottages for lunch and then come back up to school for afternoon classes. The school day ends at 2:20 and the teachers are her until 3:00. Wednesdays are a half day ending at 11:23 and the teachers have planning time for the remainder of the day – we follow the same calendar and scheduling routines as the Issaquah School District with the exception of a 40 day summer school. We also use the Wednesday afternoon time for staff development and team meetings.

[JW]  According to the WAC I assume that students there take the same standardized tests, etc.?
[MW]  Yes, we administer the HSPE and MSP – in the middle of DAPE’s currently. It’s a bit of a challenge with grades 5 or 6 through 12, but we manage.

[JW]  Do teachers that get contracted to work at EG have particular credentials in special ed, or child psychology, or…?
[MW]  Much like any other school, they are required to be Highly Qualified in the area of instruction that they are teaching. Our population ranges from 45% to 55% sp. education, so several of our teachers our sp. ed. endorsed along with a content area endorsement. We are also able to have teachers with a K-8 general ed. endorsement based on the age of the students we serve. We have a school psychologist who is dual certified – counseling and psychology. Our School staff represent 24 people (That’s including myself, School Psych, Office Secretaries (2), Librarian/Tech Specialist, 14 Teachers, 5 Educational Assistants, and a Part Time SLP.

[MW]That’s the school side of things in a nutshell. The state (DSHS/JRA) actually owns/operates the facility and the ISD is contracted to provide the educational services. The state (DSHS/JRA) is responsible for security, treatment/rehabilitation programs, medical needs, dental needs, and general welfare of the residents 24/7/365. The facility has a Superintendent, several Associate Superintendents, Maintenance Department, Food Service Dept., Cottage Staff, Intake Staff, Support staff, Security, Recreation, Treatment consultants, Contracted Psychiatry and others I’m sure I’m forgetting – quite the operation.

following is my recollection of the phone call and Mike’s replies may not be verbatim.

[JW]  So you get residents from all over King County?
[MW]  Actually from all over the state.

[JW]  Is it hard to get teachers to work at EG?
[MW]  There is very little turnover in staff at EG.  I am still one of the newest people here after my 6 years.

[JW]  So it sounds like teaching positions there are in high demand?
[MW]  That’s correct, there is a waiting list to get to work here.

[JW]  What are the opportunities for students/graduates?
[MW]  We work with communities to place students in transitional educational or vocational positions after they serve their sentence.  Many can work on food handlers license at EG, which gives them some opportunities,  others may need to work on GED, if their credits are lacking.

[JW]  What is the recidivism rate like?
[MW]  Actually that is a discouraging thing, we find that some of our students actually commit minor crimes in order to be placed back here.  They actually are   smiling during their intake photos the second time.  On the other hand that is a credit to us that this environment is safe for them.

[JW]  So it sounds like students might actually do better here than in their usual environments.
[MW]  That is the sad truth, it turns out that many of our clients have come from rough backgrounds where, for example they didn’t have a safe place to sleep, 3 square meals a day, and an environment of adults that really cared about them.  Granted that each one has done something wrong for them to be here, but the interesting question is how much of that is environmental influence and how much is innate.

[JW]  How are your classrooms outfitted with respect to computers, science, and math instruction.
[MW]  Although we are attached to a relatively resource-rich school district here in Issaquah, we still don’t have such things like Smart Boards.  Our science education could also be improved beyond the current botany that we offer.

[JW]  How is the food?
[MW]  Ahh, no comment, but I can say that most staff brown-bag it!

Thanks again to Mike for allowing me to pepper him with questions.  For more information on JRA or Institutional Instruction see OSPI web page.

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