An Inclusive Litany

5/30/01

An education text used at California State University, Dominguez Hills, says: "We cannot afford to become so bogged down in grammar and spelling that we forget the whole story... the onslaught of antihuman [sic] practices that this nation and other nations are facing today: racism, and sexism, and the greed for money and human labor that disguises itself as 'globalization.' " (From "Spelling and Social Justice," a chapter in Beyond Heroes and Holidays, by Enid Lee, et. al.)

Another text used at San Francisco State University, New Designs for Teaching and Learning, by Dennis Adams and Mary Hamm says: "Content knowledge is not seen to be as important as possessing teaching skills and knowledge about the students being taught.... Successful teachers understand the outside context of community, personal abilities and feelings, while they establish an inside context or environment conducive to learning."

In Methods That Matter, Harvey Daniels and Marilyn Bizar similarly dismiss content knowledge: "Students can no longer be viewed as cognitive living rooms into which the furniture of knowledge is moved in and arranged by teachers, and teachers cannot invariably act as subject-matter experts." The authors add: "The main use of standardized tests in America is to justify the distribution of certain goodies to certain people. And no matter what the test, does anyone seriously expect rich suburban kids, whose 'Nordic' neighbors create and sell these tests, to wind up at the bottom?"

And in The Piaget Primer, Ed Labinowicz concludes that school reforms centered around mastering basic skills are simply satisfying "parental ego needs" that "they can flaunt before their neighbors" and that "have little to do with children's best interests."

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