Sunday, June 28, 2009

College Ready Texas and Eighth Grade Algebra

Texans need to think for themselves. America's national leadership has steered the ship of state into the rocks on many levels. The economic meltdown of 2008 is prime example. The College Ready movement is another nationwide blunder.

In the Saturday June 20, 2009 Wall Street Journal, Peter McPherson and David Shulenburger published an OpEd piece, "Yes, We Can Expand Access to Higher Ed". They say America needs more college graduates. "Our nation's economic future depends on it," they say. Balderdash, I say.

America's economic future depends on improving the competence of American business leaders and reducing the corruption in our political leaders. America does not have enough jobs now for the college graduates we already have. Increasing the pool of college graduates is a salary busting move by big business. Peter McPherson was chairman of Dow Jones & Company.

Texas leaders are mindlessly following the direction of our national leadership. Governor Perry in 2007 established a Commission for a College Ready Texas. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board has saluted the College Ready Texas flag. Texas should not be taking orders like this. Our leaders here in Texas are jumping through hoops for people on the national level. Our leaders need to think for themselves and do what is best for Texas. Big business is planning another round of salary busting and an oversupply of college graduates is a part of their scheme.

The Plano ISD has aligned itself behind the College Ready movement. Plano is a community that already prepares its children to be college ready and we do not need to waste time kowtowing to the higher powers.

Where the Plano ISD is really making a mistake is in joining the push to move parts of 9th grade Algebra 1 down to 8th grade. That's a mistake first made by California. We should not copy other people's mistakes.

America's national leadership is disastrous. Texas leadership must show backbone and quit following the herd of lemmings over the cliff.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Whitehead: Morality is the Root of Education

Back in 2007 I pointed out that the Chinese scholar Chu Hsi said morality is the root of education. Now I have found Alfred North Whitehead echoing this message in his work, The Aims of Education.

As found on page 14, from Whitehead:

"The essence of education is that it be religious."

"Pray, what is religious education?"

"A religious education is an education which inculcates duty and reverence. Duty arises from our potential control over the course of events. Where attainable knowledge could have changed the issue, ignorance has the guilt of vice. And the foundation of reverence is this perception, that the present holds within itself the complete sum of existence, backwards and forwards, that whole amplitude of time, which is eternity."

Today, we would call "moral" this attitude of responsibility that Whitehead calls "religious." The type of attitude Whitehead calls religious could easily be embraced by an atheist because it is not related to any church nor belief in any god.

Even a secular education should be grounded in moral instruction. Studying Dante we can see immoral leadership is the root of the world's ills. Since our safety and prosperity depend upon moral leaders, training our leaders in morality requires we teach them in their youth.