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Mpls Public Schools: a victim of 'conservative' reforms   |   Why I oppose the Separate But Equal doctrine   |   Re: [Mpls] Why I oppose the Separate but Equal doctrine   |    Re: [Mpls] Why I oppose the Separate but Equal doctrine #2   |   Re: [Mpls] Why I oppose the Separate but Equal doctrine #3   |   Unequal inputs cause unequal outcomes

 Re: [Mpls] Why I oppose the Separate but Equal doctrine #2
Date:     9/15/2002 8:50:20 PM Central Daylight Time

In a message dated 9/14/2002 8:07:20 PM Central Daylight Time, Robert Schmid writes:

<< This is the "self-esteem" theory of education and it's a load of crap.  It's what I suffered through - a school where I was discouraged from competing on an academic level and only allowed to compete in gym class. (Nobody seemed to care about self-esteem in gym.)>>

From the balance of your letter it is clear that the "self-esteem" theory to which you refer is the theory that ability-grouping is good for the self esteem of kids who are designated as low-ability learners because it gives them a chance to "experience success."  

<< I agree with you that individualized learning plans are best.  Ideally I envision a system where the students of highest ability can work their way through the curriculum and then take on teaching roles (wherein they will have to learn the subject matter even better).>>

I don't favor kids taking on formal 'teaching roles,' but I do think that peer tutoring is quite effective. When tutorial activity is student centered the teachers can focus on active observation and assessment, which is part of a process of individualized educational planning.  

<< It is true that there are many kinds of intelligence - although I have  a passion for music and can be a good singer I am utterly incapabable of creating original music.  I envy musicians and song writers and most of them could not do what I do any more than I can do what they do.

 Yet your statement embraces the idea of a single kind of intelligence which may be measured on a linear scale.  In a properly run ability-grouping system a student like me would be in the highest classes in math and science,  mid-range in history and english and in a room with no sharp objects for art/ shop.  In such an environment students would learn that intelligence has flavors not just intensity. >>

I think that very few people are uniformily 'gifted' in all academic subjects. However, I am not convinced that there are "multiple intelligences" that can be defined and measured more satisfactorily than a "singular intelligence." I suspect that "multiple intelligences" are engaged in just about any academic subject, and to a considerable degree "intelligence" is acquired by learning.

-Doug Mann
Mann for School Board Committee