Sunday, March 16, 2008

What is the Best Education for All?

What is the Best Education for All?
One of the more well known contemporary education reformers and philosophers was Mortimer Adler who, among MANY other things, supported a project called "Great Books of the Western World" featured as part of the Encyclopedia Britannica offerings. He was one of the proponents of a liberal education for all is wiser than such specialization that is prevalent in todays world.

The title of my blog is inspired by a statement he was known for:"The best education for the best and brightest is the best education for all" (or words to that effect)I am not sure if he was thinking about our multicultural and multiethnic world we now live in, but I am pretty sure he was addressing the inequalities that existed with the "haves" and "have nots". Fast forward to today, and we see a world where not only do we have the traditional battles, but now we have entire populations of people who come together with dramatically different views of the world.

Since I live in Arizona, I will probably find my comments dealing with our rapid influx of Hispanic origin students and and perhaps even the long standing issues of education of the Native American population. These can be complex issues, especially as language differences cannot be ignored in trying to establish imperative communication among all "stakeholders." (This can be a sometimes overused word that really just means kids, teachers, parents and those in the community that will interact with each other). I believe that a good argument can then be made that the charge to the administrators must be to do whatever it takes to facilitate what must be a constant dialogue.

As an elected school board member in Bullhead City, Arizona, (with Arizona having the dubious distinction as having one of the lowest, if not THE lowest spending per pupil), I take my charge seriously to do what I can to facilitate this ongoing conversation!

An intriguing concept recently promoted in Arizona, was a major thrust for "decentralization" that includes the concept of "site councils" whose charge it is to:

"A. The purpose of this section is to ensure that individuals who are affected by the outcome of a decision at the school site share in the decision making process."

ARS, Chapter 1, Article 3.1,Title 15-351.
For those of you who want to see it online,

What a worthy goal! Is it easy? No. Will there naturally be some differences of opinion? of course. This approach seems to have worked in our country for quite a while......

Thank you for your attention to this vital issue that affects us all now and in the future.

kind regards

1 comment:

amber:) said...

Your blog looks great! And I won't even say anything about Stephen being the only one mentioned under your kids...just perpetuating the myth, right? Is this your personal blog and you want to talk about education? Or is this an education blog with some personal stuff thrown in? Just wondering. I think you pose a thought provoking question, and I have to wonder is there even a "best education for all" out there? I think that the schools do what they can but the major responsibility for a child's education lies with the parents. Which sadly is not the way the majority of the parents today seem to see it. my parents had an expectation of the kind of education their children would receive and then did all in their power to make sure that we received it. I am amazed that the teachers we have dealt with seem surprised and almost offended that we want to be as involved in Zach's education as we are. Apparently they are used to only having the parents involved with "problem kids". Not to sound so pessimistic- I don't have the answer. I know that for whatever reason teachers that I have dealt with seem jaded and not interested in what is the "best education for all."