English faculty and authors Jay Ponteri and Natalie Serber and will give readings and talks at universities in Oregon, Washington and New Mexico this winter.
Barry Bennett, MBA faculty member, penned a guest column titled The Disconnect Between What We Say about Education and What We Do.
Excerpt from Barry's guest column published in The Oregonian, October 30, 2012.
We cannot expect children to value education for its geopolitical implications. Nor can we expect them to love learning when everyone they know is huddled together watching American Idol. Children raised on video and electronics enter school not only unprepared to learn but often hostile to the very notion of reading. The school reform movement pays only lip service to the importance of parents. Although children spend 90 percent of their time between birth and age 18 outside of school, we ultimately blame only teachers and schools when children fail. We consider parents "consumers" of educational services rather than active participants.
This is the fundamental mistake in all educational reform efforts. We assume that, like automobile companies, schools can control the quality of their product. But General Motors can set clear specifications for its parts suppliers, reject those parts that don't satisfy its standards, and assemble its cars itself. Schools are trying to mold human beings. They can control only so much -- and given the myriad influences on children outside of school, their degree of control is small and probably shrinking.
We will educate all our children when we address the cultural conditions that subvert even our best efforts. Instead we continue down the same blind pathway of school reform. May we one day emerge on the other side with the wisdom and the commitment to face the real challenge.