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Re: [The-Saint-Paul-Socrates-Cafe] Schools

From: user 3.
Sent on: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 6:15 PM

Hi Siva,

See below:


From: "Siva" <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Tuesday, July 24,[masked]:04:25 PM
Subject: Re: [The-Saint-Paul-Socrates-Cafe] Schools

On 7/24/12, Sandee jo <[address removed]> wrote:
> Good Morning Mike,

> As a mentor to home-based educators for over 25 years I have noticed some
> interesting patterns that I think are fairly universal:
> 1-K ids need emotional, spiritual, cultural  and  physical training as well
> as manners...many parents are simply  out of control and don't even realize
> that their children are part of a larger group.  This spoiled- brat
> parenting is couched under the guise of "pick your battles!" It seems that
> in Minnesota there are NO battles worth picking when it comes to taking
> children into public areas . If the museums , mauls, zoos, movies, school
> functions  are not arguements against the current ideas of 'socialization'
> someone is not paying attention...and I'm not just talking the kids here!

WHOA!  Hold it.  There's nothing wrong with taking kids to those
places.  Children absolutely need to see and experience the world--as
much as it as they can.  And they HAVE to be encouraged to be
independent, inquisitive and BOLD.  IMHO, best place to raise kids is
in liberal meccas like LA, NYC, SF, or Chicago.  Because in those
places, so much diversity is near their doorstep.


I couldn't agree with you the world to children and we get a much better and more international view of the world! My point is that when my shins have been battered by strollers controlled by parents who are not paying attention to where they are going--I get attitudee. When I see kids running around in public spaces where there is a glut of 'stranger danger' I get concerned. My gripe is with the adult-free behaviors of parents and children in public. I have two God-children that their mom and I take to as many of the places I mentioned as possible. We both agree with you!!!

Parents should NEVER attempt to suppress any knowledge of the world
from them.  In fact, such an attempt is one of the signs that someone
is unqualified to be a parent.  Their job is to help their kids make
sense of it, and show them how that world--as it is--fits into and/or
can be negotiated with the values they've been taught.

This is a great synopsis of parenting, thank you, I believe that part of making sense of it is having respect for the world around us.

It needn't be said that any value system that is incompatible with the
real, modern world is a dysfunctional one.  And regrettably, there are
are many such "value" systems.

> 2-K ids need some "sit-down" time to learn and memorize (I know that's a
> naughty word): reading silently and aloud; math skills through geometry;
> computer skills; public speaking/debate skills; logic training, and
> penmanship training (using small motor skills builds neural networks where
> information can be placed later); etc. When I say "sit-down" I do NOT
> mean glued to their seats for hours! I mean that there is actual knowledge
> that helps us make decisions and be more creative. If one does not chose to
> practice driving skills, one should not have a license.  [Those interested
> in how we learn know that in order remember we should be moving while we
> learn/study.]


> 3-K ids need too learn the facts of history, geography, science, etc. not
> the 'party' line, just the facts. When you read textbooks in these areas you
> will find that they are so politically infused that the facts are obscured.
> The "why" of history, etc. is the reason we have so many educational
> choices. Consequences of the "whys" are everywhere.

Trouble here is that there's nothing enough school hours in the year
to learn history, science to the point where one has a grasp of all
the facts.  There's only time to teach kids the basics (which, of
course, should be balanced instead of censored).  The rest, kids will
have to learn for themselves, which is why it's important for them to
develop a love of learning.


I hope you are sharing your wisdom with your local school district, seriously! I also have seen verrrrry few kids who did not love learning when they started group-based school. According to research, by the time kids reach third grade most of them have become discouraged and no longer feel that the world is their oyster. This is the reason that I did not affiliate with a group-based system--public or private. 

> I think that there has to be a balance. Children who are SELF- disciplined
> are the ones that grow up able to get-er-done. They start and finish their
> chosen projects, they are focused, they have a knowledge base from which to
> launch. Students from all over the world come to the USA to our graduate
> schools because the lock-step educational styles in many other countries do
> not allow much creativity.

> The USA is the leader in drugging our children! Yup, we're number ONE! ADD
> and ADHD are epidemic (kids and adults) in our society. There are many, many
> reasons: diet (our food is so bastardized that it lacks nutrients and is
> packed with chemicals); lack of exercise; immature teachers, leaders, and
>  parents (and I don't mean agewise); technology and TV  as gods to hypnotise
> ourselves and our children-- giving us an odd sense of security that what
> technology screws up, it can also fix; etc. And, then there's money! The
> ADD/ADHA industry is immense, worth billion$ and billion$, many people have
> a stake in keeping it churning out pills and Zombie-izing our population.

Drugs, in some cases, can be helpful.  Contrary to what some believe,
psychiatry IS real science.  Problem is that almost all doctors that
try to practice it are total idiots.


Yes, given the overview of our society, the drugs are helpful. I know that the strides in brain science have proven invaluable for psychiatrists, teachers, and the general public. One problem is that the docs are all too often led by the observations of non-medical folks in schools. These people are not trying to harm anyone, they have sometimes been brainwashed to believe that a quiet classroom is the Best environment for learning. My research shows that most boys should not even be in a regular (quiet, coloring in the lines) clasroom until they are 9. Girls and boys do learn at different paces at different levels and that difference should be honored instead of denied.

The abuse of prescription medicine in the US just illustrates the old
saying "buyer beware."  it has always applied to drugs, although too
many people in the US don't realize it.  One shouldn't take ANY
medication simply because a doc/nurse prescribes it.  Drugs must
always be researched extensively by the patient before considering
ingesting them.

YES!!! Many of the families with whom I worked had so-called ADD/ADHD children. Frankly many of them were worn out by having to deal with soooooo many experts. When they start teaching their children, in many cases, the kids were able to get off medication. It was NOT EASY, but it did happen. The public system is so strapped by the federal laws--rules without funding--that they are doing the best they can. I do not recommend homeschooling for everyone, I am glad that there are now many more choices for parents in the public and private sector. I appreciate your comments. Sandee


> Have a great meeting, Sj
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Mike McGrath" <[address removed]>
> To: [address removed]
> Sent: Sunday, July 22,[masked]:04:44 AM
> Subject: Re: [The-Saint-Paul-Socrates-Cafe] 7/18/12 questions and discussion
> I'll try to be brief. It's pretty easy to be against America's education
> system. I've never met anyone who liked it. Jon's summary and the reference
> to ''Worker Bees'' caused me to re-visit that wonderful NIKE ad for the 1984
> Macintosh roll out. (NIKE Big Brother Ad). What I'm trying to say is that
> motivation is what is lacking in a great many students. I was a pretty
> mediocre student until I got to college and saw that there were many
> fascinating things to work on if one had credentials. I don't think teachers
> or parents can motivate children. It's an awakening.
> I don't believe Maslow's hierarchy was ever validated by anyone. It
> is rarely cited today and it's  my understanding that even Maslow rejected
> it
> shortly before his death in 1970. He was trying to work God/spirituality
> into it and the theory dramatically disintegrated.
> From: Jon Anderson <[address removed]>
> To: [address removed]
> Sent: Saturday, July 21,[masked]:26 PM
> Subject: [The-Saint-Paul-Socrates-Cafe] 7/18/12 questions and discussion
> 7/18/12 questions and discussion
> [note to all: Micheal McGrath suggests we consider bringing lightweight
> chairs or pillows to use downstairs in that quiet hallway below Nina's. If
> we each bring a chair/pillow -- or two -- we could do this, but is that
> asking too much of ourselves?]
> 1-how might we make capitalism kinder?2
> 2-why isn't balance held in higher esteem?4
> 3-how do you want people to treat you?6
> 4-is there an end to progress?4
> 5-do we have room in our lives and in our societies for children?7
> 6-to what extent should we make money?4
> 7-how do icons become icons and are they important?3
> ==========================================
> do we have room in our lives and in our societies for children?7
> Mike: I have a 3 month old grandson. His mom, my daughter in law isn't
> excited about going back to work. She's doing that more to maintain herself
> in her profession. MPR did a show recently about students taking Adirol -- a
> drug typically prescribed to kids with ADHD -- to improve their focus. When
> the drug was experimentally given to both ADHD kids and "normal" kids it was
> discovered that both did better at focusing, in fact equally so. It makes me
> think ADHD isn't real. There's a normal range of children's behaviors.
> School systems are prison-like and not designed or funded to support real
> learning. Instead those systems seem more intended to create good worker
> bees, not maximizing kids' potentials.
> Jon: eccentricity has long been associated with creativity. Eccentric kids
> typically don't do well in school. Creativity is clearly essential to the
> many kinds of success we need. But in order to address it it will be very
> expensive.
> Jess: Adirol isn't wholistic.
> Mike: current educational theory seems focused on getting 30 kids to sit
> down and shut up!
> Erik: because that theory/design is that of a factory.
> jess: there is a "Ted talk" online about how education kills creativity. My
> university experience was an extension of my High School experience. Two of
> my friends are becoming Montessori teachers. Montessori is more about love
> and community; a village raises a child. Kids need exposure to what's out
> there, not narrowness.
> Erik: actually when in school themselves, teachers are trained to do all
> that great stuff, but school districts are quick to stifle such efforts.
> Jess: teachers are made too responsible for the kids' performances.
> Sean: the first desire as a society is to keep people out of poverty. We
> argue about how best to do it. What we think -- generally speaking -- is the
> best thing to do is a free market system where people are responsible for
> taking care of themselves.
> Mike: but we don't teach our children how to care for themselves. Those
> skills are not relevant  (gardening, for ex.)
> Sean: the "how" is debated. Although Mike may be suggesting is that the goal
> is different: Employees vs. self-sufficient persons. People/parents in this
> system don't know any other way to educate because it's the way they were
> educated. For them, it's "just the way it is.
> Mike: it seems to be getting worse; less exercise is happening, they get
> less time to eat (so they wolf food down).
> Sean: do we want to be "number one"? Kids is China and India are in systems
> that are far more rigid/uncreative than ours, so for us to move away from
> that rigid model is to decide not to be "number one." Our GDP is dependent
> upon our schools cranking out worker bees, not self-realized individuals.
> Self-realized individuals are less likely than worker bees to make positive
> contributions to GDP (unless those contributions coincide with an aspect of
> their self-realization).
> Lucy: I went to a private HS and my classmates were by and large motivated
> but not necessarily more so than kids from public schools.
> Sean: I'm talking macro economics, global. Raw GDP as a measure puts China's
> progress out front. Agreeing to not seek this is to step away from being
> number one.
> Mike: I'm talking about self-realization.
> Sean: emphasizing self-realization means foregoing GDP. It's the upper
> middle class giving up 2 cars, big house, iPads, etc. We get resistance
> there. There would be a great deal of hostility to efforts to emphasize
> individual happiness over collective success. Individual happiness efforts
> will require collective sacrifices/less economic success.
> Jon: I'd like to repeat what Jess was talking about (holistic approaches).
> Today I listened to a radio interview with a doctor who is advocating a
> systems approach to cancer research and treatment. Apparently medicine
> focuses almost exclusively on cancer cells and considers all other factors
> largely irrelevant. If he's right about how best to approach medical care,
> are we right to emphasize systematic approaches to kids' educations (no more
> "teaching to the test" or strict emphasis on rote learning)?
> lucy: ADHD has had a backlash, as did bi-polar diagnoses. It does exist but
> is over-diagnosed. How does one learn?
> Mike: in the Montessori method kids are encourged to do something from a
> given range of activities. They are told to do it correctly but the kids do
> what's meaningful to them. This can't be directly translated to older
> students but the idea could be relating the education to what each student
> wants to learn.
> Lucy: emphasizing kids specialness can result in spoiled kids. How would I
> know my passions without initial exposures to different topics? If things
> like Montessori work, we don't have the resources to do it everywhere.
> Suburban kids do better academically and in the American economy for largely
> economic supported ways -- ways that are too expensive for kids in poor
> school districts.
> Mike: there's a problem for teens to decide what to do for a career when
> they know so little about the world.
> Lucy: my ex-husband wanted to always to be the best at whatever he did. So
> he's perfect for the US economy, for GDP. Poor kids can be just as driven
> but due to their home environments only successful (sometimes very
> successful) criminals. Maslow's hierarchy of needs begins with food,
> shelter, clothing, education. Self-realization is not possible until the
> basics are covered.
> Jeremy: we're just moving chairs on the titanic as we discuss improving
> education. Everyone has a solution but what's the upshot for people like me?
> I hope the society doesn't go down the tubes but improving our kids'
> educations may not actually make my life better! A line must be walked
> between what the kids want and what their society wants.
> Erik: balance; give 'em too much freedom = spoiled kids. Too little freedom
> and they are stifled.
> --
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> This message was sent by Jon Anderson ( [address removed] ) from The Saint
> Paul Socrates Cafe.
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> --
> Please Note: If you hit " REPLY ", your message will be sent to everyone on
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> This message was sent by Mike McGrath ([address removed]) from The Saint
> Paul Socrates Cafe .
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> Set my mailing list to email me As they are sent | In one daily email |
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