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Oh, my what a tangled web of assumptions, accusations and stereotypes we
have become. One of the negative stereotypes of PC is that only people with
the "correct" position are allowed to make provcative statements - those
that contradict are seen to be enemy others. (and for the record [again!] I
live, teach, and send my children to public school in Berkeley, the PC
capitol if the entire universe, so of course there are many aspects of it I
support, but be assured I am exposed the most extreme fringes so it is
somewhat of an easy target).
Are you not equally guilty of making assumptions about my teaching,
handling discipline, curriculum, or even the type of students I teach? (see
original post) Just because YOU grew up in a certain milieu does not mean
that teachers today are in the same place. Times change, people change. I
know that teachers in my district are more than amply aware of the needs of
their diverse population, many of which they are powerless to control on a
day to day basis.
However, in reading about the amount of power you want to reallocate to
students, it seems to me that you are forgetting that we are talking about
children here. Elementary school. Ages five to eleven. I would like to
think that, as in most cultures, children fall under the "authority" of
their elders until such a time that their culture deems them ready for
adult authority. Now, the ages may vary with different types of cultures,
but I think it is generally understood here in the USA that we're talking
about children, who look to adults to model and shape their behavior.
The discussion started with a teacher looking for realistic, "do-able"
ideas to make her (I think her) classroom a place where all children can
safely learn. I doubt she wants to negotiate the assignment with every
child who walks through the door. As I recollect, art used to be taught
that way -"just do your own thing"...but nothing much got taught, or
Most of us work very hard every day with children, many of whom have
suffered in ways we can't even imagine. We should be available to help them
find their way...not just dump them on the road and tell them to find their
J. in Berkeley (let's leave poor gbogus out of this. He'd rather die than
face a class of 30 kids with matte knives)