Gospel myths

In surveys, black and Hispanic parents show strong support for high-stakes tests that educationists condemn as “racist,” writes Jonathan Zimmerman, an education professor, in the Christian Science Monitor. “Ed-School Gospel” preaches that schools should “reflect student interests, not the sterile demands of “the curriculum”; they should employ a wide variety of classroom materials, not just the district-approved textbook; they should promote group learning and cooperation; and they should evaluate each student based on her or his own progress, not on district or statewide norms.” Standardized testing works against these goals, Zimmerman writes.

. . . I also worry that the Ed-School Gospel blinds us to the concerns of American racial minorities, who simply don’t see the world the way we do. They want classrooms that stress discipline, that follow a strict curriculum, and that help children succeed on – gasp! – standardized tests.

Especially if students live in chaotic or dangerous home environments, minority parents argue, they need the order and structure of a traditional school.

. . . (Education professors) can no longer dismiss high-stakes testing as “racist” when so many racial minorities want it.

Unfortunately, we also have a rich tradition of ignoring popular sentiment.

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of “conservative” education commentaries by people I consider liberals.

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Comments

  1. elfcharm says:

    I have been having a similar problem (sounding conservative, when previously I had been liberal), and I believe the problem arises due to the polarization of the two sides.
    It has come to the point where, if you erase the religious portion of the republican party, I would almost prefer them to democrats.

    too bad the religious right needs to stay, as opposed to just the business right.
    Chad

  2. I have been having a similar problem (sounding conservative, when previously I had been liberal), and I believe the problem arises due to the polarization of the two sides.

    Polarization, and an almost cultish attitude of “you must follow us to the letter and agree with our every point, or you’re the enemy”. There seems to be little choice between the Democrats and Republicans in the political arena – or between Marx and Christ in the ideological one. What happens when you don’t believe in either, or you believe in something else?

    It has come to the point where, if you erase the religious portion of the republican party, I would almost prefer them to democrats

    Sometimes I feel that same way too. It’s too bad the libertarian party isn’t a stronger political force. Mind you, they have their own flaws. The way I see it, libertarianism stands for freedom, not necessarily free markets. Free markets, by themselves, will not bring freedom. The difference here is between “necessary” and “sufficient”.

  3. I caught part of an interview of Kevin Johnson last night on Charlie Rose. Kevin is an ex-NBA player who went back to his home town of Sacramento, CA to set up St. Hope Corporation, which is trying to turn around a poor, urban neighborhood by dealing with school, housing, and job issues. They started a charter school because the public schools could not or would not do what was necessary to provide a “private school” quality education for the kids. He placed a large part of the blame on unions. When Charlie Rose half-jokingly asked him if this made him a Republican, Kevin paused and said with a smile that he was a “proud Democrat with Republican values”. He is also in favor of doing whatever it takes – charters, vouchers, etc. – to get the job done. It kind of reflects how a lot of people feel; they did not leave the Democratic party, the Democratic party left them.

  4. edgeworthy says:

    Beeman said “Between Marx and Christ in the ideological one…”

    Talk about moral equivalence! I don’t much like the fundamentalists, but this is the kind of offhand remark that is making me more and more conservative in my old age. Better a nation run by naive, even simple-minded Christians than elites who think trad religion is as wrongheaded as Marxism.

  5. “or between Marx and Christ in the ideological one.”

    The mind absolutely boggles.

  6. elfcharm says:

    Do you think it is right, to put those calm, wonderful people, who follow where their shephard leads (presumably to heaven), and who cheerfully invite all people to come with them in the SAME LIGHT as those who are, in their words, wishes, and actions, very exclusionary? The radical religious right, which influences the mere religious right (much in the same way the radical left influences the common left), being inherently exclusionary, cannot be concidered in the same thought as the people I first mentioned.

    When comparing the radical right vs. the radical left, it CAN be boiled down to christ vs. marx, Though only in a satirical sense.

    The problem arises, however, when you get people who don’t take the time to look at the inherent differences between the common churchgoer, and the radical, exclusionary, political churchgoer. Much in the same way that the left is misjudged.

    Further, I agree with the statement “Better a nation run by naive, even simple-minded Christians than elites who think trad religion is as wrongheaded as Marxism”, however, in order to make that statement more applicable to our current political reality it must be changed to

    Better a nation run by people who choose a religious platform in order to justify their pride, ego, and prejudices in a popular manner, or elites who think traditional religion is as wrongheaded as marxism.

    Of course, to properly express the polarization issue, you’ve gotta change that last statement to something akin to “elites who pay lipservice to the idea that marxism is bad”
    but I’m liberal leaning, I would NEVER say that =)
    Chad

  7. Do you think it is right, to put those calm, wonderful people, who follow where their shephard leads (presumably to heaven), and who cheerfully invite all people to come with them in the SAME LIGHT as those who are, in their words, wishes, and actions, very exclusionary?

    I only wish that more Christians were actually like that, or were a religion of “pure peace and brotherhood”, or whatever Kirk said in that Star Trek episode on the Roman parallel-Earth!

    I had more than enough experience in my youth of powermongering Christian elites persecuting me for my beliefs, not to mention my very being. Their attitude was not to force me to join them, but to get rid of me (or my essence.)

    Consider that the body count for Christianity (and Islam, the other great religion of “cheerful invitation”) rivals that of modern communism and fascism. I’m not a religious person, but I have no problem with others being religious, as long it’s on their time and not mine. Freedom of religion means freedom from religion.

    And I actually prefer to be around Jews (and have more respect for) and Hindus than Christians and Muslims, for the simple reason that Jews and Hindus are the most “live and let live” of all the major religions. To be honest, I prefer to be around people who are themselves, with little or no group affiliation. If that makes me a bigot, I must be a bigot then. But history is on my side.

    As for “christ vs. marx”, that pretty well describes the polarized (and barren) political landscape of modern America. What about other thinkers, philosophers, and religious leaders? What about Adam Smith, Buddha, Rousseau, Voltaire, Crowley, Rand, Jefferson, Hayek, Lao Tzu, Hobbes, and many others I can mention? Not all of these are good, but it would be nice if they had more influence and awareness in the mainstream. Talk about being in need of diversity!