A Mathematician's Lament by Paul Lockhart
Lockhart argues in part essay, part dialogue between Salviati and Simplicio, that math is an art to be discovered, not to be taught by rote.
William Deresiewicz on the disadvantages of an elite university education
It makes you incapable of talking to people unlike you; inculcates a false sense of self-worth; offers too much security; and trains leaders, not thinkers, argues Deresiewicz. Also, he discusses the importance of solitude.

Never-Got-Around-To-Responding Linkdump

It's been a while since I've done an old-fashioned linkdump. All of these are articles or posts that I wanted to respond to but never found the time to, and yet had stuck in my bookmarks.

Comparing Weblogs to Threaded Discussion Tools in Online Educational Contexts
Donna Cameron and Terry Anderson examine cognitive and teaching presence, identity, focus, safety, ownership of space, exploration, integration and learning through blogging.


Reading Doc and AKMA on an article in The New York Times on home schooling (called "unschooling" in the article, which sounds like people could think it means "uneducating", but is instead meant to distinguish from the the traditional or status quo, much like the word "unconference"), I find similarities with arguments like those of John Taylor Gatto. Gatto writes in his essay—not mentioned in the article, perhaps because it's outside even the home schooling mainstream?—that traditional schools only teach confusion, class position, indifference, emotional and intellectual dependency, conditional self-esteem, and surveillance—compelling, if checked by the fact that my sister, an elementary school teacher, loves her job and her students, and whom I believe is a good teacher loved by her students and their parents.

Both Doc (and Julie, whom I thought of immediately reading Doc's piece linked at the top) are familiar with Gatto, which would lead me to guess that Gatto's omission from the New York Times article, its embarrassing correction and all, is puzzling (because of his influence on homeschoolers) or explainable (ditto). My research on the subject consists only of stumbling on links, since I'm childless (my plans for the foreseeable future—May 2007, if you must know—assume that continues). Always in the back of my 28-year-old mind, however, is the question "how would I educate my child(ren)", and while I can't make a decision now, among the values and personality traits I'd like to instill, or would like their teachers and mentors to instill in them would include love, strength, playfulness, seriousness, intelligence, athleticism, grace, and above all, curiosity.

That, in the hope that they will learn from the mistakes of their father, a regular sleep schedule.

"The Seven-Lesson Schoolteacher"
Schools only teach us confusion, class position, indifference, emotional and intellectual dependency, conditional self-esteem, and surveillance, says John Taylor Gatto.
Julie Leung comments, from a homeschooling mother's perspective, on Doc Searls' excellent article about education
Both are must-reads. Also: Julie increased her coolness factor by 1 for listening to Kanye West.
Dave Pollard on the need for entrepreneurial education
He advocates no classroom, no lectures and no tests. The traditional educational system is failing a generation of would-be free enterprisers.