Last week, in between my work, I went on line to check out the virtual home town meeting run by the White House. It worked this way: people submitted questions for the president to answer. These questions were posted and the most popular questions (through voting) where chosen for the president to answer at a "home town" meeting video streamed through the internet. The audience included people that had submitted the questions.
What was interesting was the difference in popular questions from those asked by the press. This was even indicated on the home town meeting site. In fact, I believe that the president did not answer the questions as well as those the press presents him, maybe because he was not as prepared to answer those questions.
For education and the economy, the most frequent question was one I hear on campus more and more as graduation draws near. How will students who have racked up thousands of dollars in debt, going to pay back these loans when there are no job prospects for them? What programs are in place so these student loans don't default?
For education, from all sides, repeal or modification of the No Child Left Behind act seems to be the biggest question. In fact, the president did address this. However, he made on comment that I have to disagree with as a teacher and parent. He said the the teacher is the most important person in each child's education. In fact, I feel that with out a teacher/parent partnership, a child is at a disadvantage as a life long learner. Parents need to support children's learning at home, reinforcing concepts. But this can't be accomplished if they are left out of the loop. Parent's know their children better than any teacher could (except perhaps in Sweden where the student stays with the same teacher throughout primary school). On the other hand, the teacher needs the support of the parent because without it there teaching is no more than throwing felt pieces on to a piece of velcro with hope that something will stick. Teachers need to be respected by students and this can't happen in Parents don't show that respect. Teachers know what is expected of students, spend more time in many cases, than parents with the students, and for the most part really want their students to succeed. NCLB pitted teachers against parents and our educational system as suffered as a result.
I would recommend looking at the White House web site and starting to participate in democracy using the new tools available to us. It is very exciting to be a part of this effort!
- V Yonkers
- Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.