March 5, 2007

The Better Mousetrap

The seventh and final chapter of Zig's book is now available for download.

Zig gives us a new twist on Emerson's mousetrap analogy as it applies to education

I’ve made several references to building a better mousetrap. The original saying came from the famous American essayist, Ralph Waldo Emerson. He wrote, “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” If Emerson’s quote addressed the actual strategies of U.S. education, it would go something like this: “Build a better mousetrap and the educational community will lie about either your mousetrap, where your door is, or what constitutes beating a path to a door.” (p. 54)

This last chapter provides much information on the DI implementations since 2000. The Baltimore project is particularly interesting. I'll devote a post to it later.

Zig concludes:

If a mind is a terrible thing to waste, the educational establishment is guilty of incomprehensible waste.



Eric said...

In several cites served by the NEA, there was great antagonism toward DI and no attempts to support it. We contacted the national office of the NEA and pointed out the problem. The response we received was that the national office did not have control over local chapters in these matters. [Book of Zig 7:5]

Perhaps the NEA overlooked the role of its state affiliates in ensuring that locals were aware of state constitutional mandates requiring the efficient operation of schools. Sure, union locals are free to take direction from their members, but members ought to know when that direction becomes inconsistent with their claims to public funds raised, for example, for "a thorough and efficient system" of public schools. Perhaps the nearest ed dean could help find that lesson in his school's teacher training curriculum...

Preemptive note to Allen: Which action best demonstrates the duties of citizenship?
A. Posting a snarky comment about obtuse writing style
B. Filing a public records request and posting the results

Assessment rubric for preemptive note: Answer A. indicates the respondent lacks qualifications to direct public funds in accordance with the duties of citizenship (per Ohio's Academic Content Standards).

Instructivist said...

"If a mind is a terrible thing to waste..."

Either the syntax of this slogan is too convoluted and incomprehensible (it is horrible syntax, after all) or educationists stop in mid-sentence and just think a mind is a terrible thing.

Liz said...

Housekeeping-- did you mean to link to the download of Ch 7, rather than this page

I don't supposte it means much either way, but downloading from this page means that Zig won't have an accurate count the downloads.

KDeRosa said...

He will if they download the file linked on the page. :)

Plus, the file will disappear in the next week in any vent.

allen said...

eric wrote:

Preemptive note to Allen: Which action best demonstrates the duties of citizenship?

Well, it kind of depends on the situation, doesn't it?

If, for instance, someone posits that a union local has some responsibility to represent the interests of the public at large then snarkiness is certainly one appropriate response. Dependent, of course, on the underlying reason for this odd assertion.

It's always open season on dishonesty of course and snarkiness is certainly a valid response. Naivete though, demands a lighter touch since ignorance isn't best cured with a flogging.

So which one's it going to be Eric? Do you actually believe that a union local is the appropriate, or even a capable, vehicle for any political pursuit other then those that'll result in the maximization of membership benefits?

Better yet, perhaps the local could put it to a vote: Spend dues to,

A. influence the state legislature to pass legislation that'll result in more efficient operation of schools or,

B. influence the state legislature to sweeten teacher retirement packages?

Answer A. should be accompanied by, at least, one example although one example would hardly be sufficient to validate the answer but it would be a token of good faith.

Eric said...

Thank you for not flogging.

Through new unionism, Bob Chase promised good behavior in turn for fewer vouchers. The voucher provision was left out of NCLB, so perhaps we ought to ask the NEA how many state and local affiliates kept the promise to cooperate.

Wouldn't the reauthorizors like to know if the NEA kept its commitments?