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March, 2018

  1. Civics, SJW, Edina, Anti-Gun Student Protests

    March 7, 2018 by Tunya

    The weeks after Florida School Shooting, Feb 14, 2018 sees increasing student unrest and anxiety.  Some protests are being subsidized by self-interest groups. Concers about civics education are being raised.  See Joanne Jacobs – From anger to activism: is this civics education?         My comment below, March 6, 2018

    I think civics education should be about government in general, how we are governed and how people, voting citizens and others (those too young to vote or others nor registered as voters), can participate in a democracy.

    Schools are expected to socialize students to live in a democracy and be active participants in their school life. I do not think they should be encouraged, directly from their lessons or their reading materials, to be social justice warriors.

    I find it disturbing that a good number of books have already been published in that regard. And, some are for the early primary years at that! Here are a few titles:

    • A is For Activist

    • A Rule is to Break – A Child’s Guide to Anarchy

    • Tales for Little Rebels, a collection of radical children’s literature

    Mind you, with a balanced approach, and with good discussion, I think these books can be part of valuable discussion. But, care should be taken that the curriculum does not bend that way. As it did in Edina.

    Joanne did mention Edina Schools in an earlier post about scores slipping when an ‘equity’ focus was adopted That was last year.

    But Edina continues in its radical agenda with the latest story getting international attention: “a leading edge of a full-scale ideological reeducation campaign”. I wonder if they will be participating in these student protests currently in vogue? See the story: Inside a public school social justice factory

    One Grade 10 student on the Rate My Teachers site said: ““This class should be renamed . . . ‘Why white males are bad, and how oppressive they are.’”

  2. Dumbing-Down the arts — constructivism’s spread

    March 4, 2018 by Tunya

    The hijacking of art education for political purposes was highlighted 6 years ago.
    Aristos is an online review of the arts and its April 2010 issue had an article entitled “The Hijacking of Art Education” by Michelle Marder Kamhi. This is the opening statement:
    “Parents and others who think that children are mainly learning about painting and drawing in today’s art classrooms should consider this: a movement has for some time been afoot to hijack art education for purposes of often radical political indoctrination”.
    After attending a convention of the National Art Education Association (US) she wrote her analysis. She describes some of the left professors who are forefront in the movement to use art education as a vehicle for social justice — a move linked to critical theory and critical pedagogy. This is not to be confused with critical thinking, she says, whose aim is to develop students’ powers of reasoning.
    An abbreviated form of the article was published in the Wall Street Journal, with strong responses, mainly in support of the author’s views.
    A follow-up Forum in Aristos months later provided a reasonable balance of opinions from teachers and professors in the field of art education. Some argued for integrity to art discipline and adherence to the understood principle that teachers should teach how to think, not what. Others saw them selves as “cultural workers” and felt that art could be used to “change the world”. (See Aristos archives.)
    The author concluded in 2010: “Though a social justice approach to art education is not yet widespread in K-12 classrooms, it would be inaccurate to suggest that it is non-existent.”
    Well, here we are now. Martin Robinson quotes from The Guardian that in the UK “in some schools, teachers are embracing . . . [the arts] . . . as a tool to teach the environment.” The children “learn the ‘compost and growing’ song and produce artwork in relation to it, too. The arts and other curriculum areas are continually connected. Teaching the children to be sustainable has nice science, humanities and responsible citizenship links.”
    This is an issue that needs broad discussion. Perhaps that august lineup (EDHirsch, DChristodoulou, GAshman, KBirbalsingh) that is to meet in Nov in Amsterdam (topic: Shift from social-constructivism to science-informed education) might touch on the issue raised here.

    [  My response to Martin Robinson’s blog post of Marco 03, 2018 ]  ]