08 April 2012

Blog post #10

education equals future

Do you Teach or Do you Educate?
This is an excellent video created by Joshua Bloom. It really puts the relationship of teacher and educator into perspective.
I am pursuing a degree in Physical Education. I can teach my students how to exercise and eat correctly, but with out educating them on why a healthy lifestyle is important, it would all just be a waste of time. Childhood obesity is growing to epidemic proportions and it is due in large part to the lack of education on the reasons why obesity occurs, what is so bad about excess body fat, and how crucial it is to begin a health lifestyle at a young age. Children are the future of our country. We are failing them. The children of our nation are fat and it is our fault. Type II diabetes rates are exploding and heart disease is the number one killer of Americans. All of this because of our poor diets and lack of physical exercise. It starts in the schools. We give the students unhealthy choices in the lunch line and cut the physical education budgets every time the district needs more money. P.E. "teachers" become frustrated or complacent and their students shoot hoops for 180 days a year. The school boards see this and think the P.E. programs are a waste of time and cut more funding. It is a viscous cycle and it has to end. As Physical Educators, we have to do just that; Educate our students about their physical selves. I am all in, are you?

Don't Let Them Take Pencils Home
This is an excellent post (and blog) about trying to remove objects of distraction instead of finding alternate sources for their attention. A good example of why this mentality is flawed was in the California prison system. The weights were taken out of the yards because some found it disturbing that their criminals were coming out of prison looking like body builders. What the inmates did was switch to calisthenics. By using only their body weight, the inmates became bigger, stronger, and more athletic than they were before.
This may be a little off topic, but I recently had a discussion with one of my past professors about what is called "testing". Personally, I find that label absurd. Weather it is a standardized state test or a 9 weeks exam, calling them "tests" couldn't be more ridiculous.

Test(n) - something (as a series of questions or exercises) for measuring the skill, knowledge, intelligence, capacities, or aptitudes of an individual or group.

About the only thing we test for is the ability of the students to regurgitate facts that are crammed into their short term memory. In the week leading up to, or even the class period prior to a scheduled "test" the students are given a "study guide" which, in most cases, is just a list of the answers to the questions that will be given on the upcoming "test". If a student's memorization skills are keen and they put fourth a modest effort, they will do just fine on the "test". This couldn't be more true with standardized state testing in our public schools. For two weeks, at our local school, the administration puts everything else on hold and drills the state test's materials in to the students heads with repetitive fury until they can puke out the information when the test is given, even then, they don't do that well. I wonder why... Something has to change...

I recently read an article, from 2010, on usatoday.com. Here is an excerpt:

"Scores from the 2009 Programme for International Student Assessment to be released Tuesday show 15-year-old students in the U.S. performing about average in reading and science, and below average in math. Out of 34 countries, the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math."

The United States was given an "average" rating... How sad is it that the most powerful country in the world has an "average" education system? It is embarrassing to say the least.

An article I read in the Washington Post titled "U.S. falls in global ranking of young adults who finish college", may be even more gloomy. Here is an excerpt from that article:

"Instead of gaining ground, the United States has fallen from 12th to 16th in the share of adults age 25 to 34 holding degrees, according to the report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It trails global leaders South Korea, Canada and Japan and is mired in the middle of the pack among developed nations."


If this kind of educational decline continues, our economy continues to tank, and our dependency on foreign goods continues to increase, what kind of future are the citizens of this great nation going to have? Our children and their children deserve more and it is up to us to give it to them.


  1. Wow Robert! I must say that your blog post this week has been one of my favorites yet. The facts that you pointed out about obesity and Diabetes in regards to P.E were really great. I'm definitely on board with you. Also, I never considered some of the things you stated about "testing," but I can now say that you're right. Your blog post was very well written and clear. Keep up the good work!

  2. Hello Robert,

    Unfortunately, I don't think you completely got the point of Tom Johnson's post. The pencils were a metaphor for technology. However, you did present an interesting interpretation and I liked how you provided sources to support your argument against standardized tests. I'm not a fan of them myself.

    I also have to point out that your Google ads are quite distracting being at the top of your blog. I think it would look more professional (and other lab assistants agree) if you placed the ads either on the bottom of your blog or along the side. Their current position is unsightly and not in tune with the purpose of this blog, which is to be your online portfolio of the class assignments.

    1. Ms. Hammond,
      Fortunately, I did completely get the point of Mr. Johnson's post. His entire blog is about the troubles of integrating technology in to education. Going back and reading what I posted, I don't think I expressed my summary very well. In short, what I meant to say was the post was about trying to remove objects of distraction or mischief to solve a problem instead of finding ways to gain the attention or harness the reasons for the mischievous behavior and use them to our advantage. Yes, this post is about technology, but that is like saying EDM310 is an education class.
      The "Google ads" you are referencing on the top of my blog were supposed to be, and at one time were, just a one line news reel that cycled from google.com, espn.com, and cnn.com. I have no idea why it became so large... I just deleted it. Thank you for pointing that out! It was ridiculously large...