William Arthur Ward

Sunday Morning Open Thread: Mother's Day And Selected Other Items, 'Is We Learning Yet' Edition

Today is Mother's Day in the U.S. and mothers in Vermont may have additional reason to celebrate - three days ago, Vermont passed the first Universal Health Care bill in the U.S. Here's a blurb from the HuffPo piece written by Anja Rudiger yesterday about it:

On May 5 the Vermont House followed the Senate in passing the final version of a health reform bill that creates a path for a universal, publicly financed health care system in Vermont. Governor Peter Shumlin has confirmed he will sign the bill into law.

This makes Vermont the first state in the country to move toward a universal health care system that will provide health care as a public good for everyone. Legislators and advocates alike have compared Vermont's role to that of the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, which half a century ago spearheaded the establishment of universal health care in Canada.

Nicely done, Vermont.

In other news, two imams on their way to an anti-Islamophobia conference1 were tossed off the flight by the pilot, who had gone so far as to turn the plane - which was taxiing down the runway after leaving the gate - back to the gate. Authorities are investigating.

Insofar as new words and definitions go, you can add Teach-i-cide to the list. Kudos belong to Shakespeare's Sister of Daily Kos. Here's the definition as excerpted from the nub of her gist in the diary:

Simply put, in all areas of teaching, over-emphasis on "drill and kill" activities to build vocabulary recognition or even skills - some of which cannot be directly taught - is removing the emphasis from students actually learning, and removing the power from teachers to actually teach. Teachers are more and more forced into the "bubble box" where we have to teach to the test - our district's standards are prioritized in terms of what the state test emphasizes. In many cases, those standards are not what our students need, and therefore we, as teachers, are not meeting their needs.

I'll leave you with this final quote, amalgamated from Gallagher and Schmoker:

As Gallagher (2009) writes, "a terrible price is paid" when the exigencies of testing supersede authentic literacy [or any true learning] activities (p.26). Teaching to the test, which so many continue to do, is both unethical and patently counterproductive.

It would be a tragedy if you didn't go read the whole thing - it's well worth it.

And on that final note, we'll leave you with this parting thought about teaching:

"Teaching is more than imparting knowledge; it is inspiring change. Learning is more than absorbing facts; it is acquiring understanding."

      - William Arthur Ward

Namaste, and Happy Mother's Day.


Only footnotes below the fold.