Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs indicates the perception of a safe environment, along with basic physiological needs, are pre-requisites for the development of higher order needs eventually culminating in self-actualization. This podcast focuses on our ethical obligations as moral educators to speak out and take action when pedagogic crimes are taking place in our schools against students. The specific pedagogic crimes I address in this podcast include verbally threating elementary school children with the loss of their entire summer vacation if they don’t work harder and score better on high stakes tests, and the departmentalization of students in first grade. Neither of these actions are supported by educational research as ways to enhance student achievement or promote the sort of school culture in which learners of any age can thrive. Both of these actions have been and are being taken in a Texas elementary school, whose identity I am not disclosing for reasons I explain in the podcast. These reprehensible actions are NOT taking place everywhere in all our schools, and I am not wanting to further erode public perceptions of teachers and our schools in general by sharing these stories and ideas. I do believe, however, that cultures of fear are more prevalent than ever in many of our public schools today because of NCLB and our predominant, destructive political culture emphasizing high stakes accountability. As moral human beings in our communities, we have obligations to speak out when children are being harmed both physically and verbally, even if those actions are being taken in the name of “raising student achievement,” “improving test scores,” or “getting our kids ready for high school.”

Show Notes:

  1. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs on WikiPedia
  2. Abu Ghraib torture and prisoner abuse on WikiPedia
  3. Enron article on WikiPedia
  4. Whistleblower article on WikiPedia
  5. “The Power of Reading, Second Edition: Insights from the Research” by Stephen Krashen
  6. Website of Dr. Stephen Krashen
  7. “Classroom Instruction that Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement” by Robert J. Marzano, Debra J. Pickering, Jane E. Pollock
  8. “Working on the Work: An Action Plan for Teachers, Principals, and Superintendents” by Phillip Schlechty
  9. Leadership Applied: Building Powerful Learning Communities by Dr. Tim Tyson @ Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference 2007
  10. The Blogging School by Dr. Tim Tyson @ Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference 2007
  11. Website of Dr. Tim Tyson
  12. Podcast of Dr. David Berliner’s 2006 presentation: “High Stakes Testing is the Enemy”
  13. “The Schools Our Children Deserve: Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and “Tougher Standards”” by Alfie Kohn
  14. Podcast of Dr. Allan L. Beane’s 2007 presentation: How to Create Bully Free Classrooms and Schools

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