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Re: [nyceducationnews] Re: Ravitch Answers Gates

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  • MSN - Falik
    Perhaps there are (at least) two things that a reading list should exemplify: 1. Authors who s works will have a lasting impact, and, 2. Authors who define our
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 30, 2010
      Perhaps there are (at least) two things that a reading list should exemplify:
      1. Authors who's works will have a lasting impact, and,
      2. Authors who define our history and culture.
       
      I believe that #2 is important because one of the functions of our public school system must be to insure that all citizens have an understanding of what makes us Americans.  That is not to denigrate multiculturalism, but "merely" to point out that without that without a shared experience we can not maintain a civil society.  That is not to say that all reading must meet these requirements, but the core list is important.
       
      I probably should admit here that I always felt like a failure because I never read all of the books on the Regents Reading List, wherever it is now.
       
      Eugene Falik

      Sent: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 11:30 PM
      Subject: [nyceducationnews] Re: Ravitch Answers Gates

       

      Steve Koss wrote:

      "I used to think that a deep and thorough knowledge of American and 
      world history, facility with algebra-based mathematics, conceptual as 
      well as hands-on knowledge of science, understanding of the history of 
      art, and of course knowledge of, and ability to read and share Plato, 
      Cervantes, Conrad, Melville, Dickens, Hawthorne, Dostoyevsky, 
      Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Keats, Shelley, Pope, Yeats, T.S. Eliot, 
      Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Emerson, Thoreau, and the like were 
      what constituted a good education by the end of high school. Never have 
      I felt like such a dinosaur where it comes to education as now."


      Sorry Steve. On this one I need disagree.  

      I perceive such a list to be seriously deficient.  Not that these are not all great writers, but are they the extent of what a high school curriculum should be for a student population which is 80% black & brown, half of these being female.  The above list appears to me to be akin to the Dead White Men's compilation of 20 years ago by E.D. Hirsch, who assembled a 60 page appendix of What Literate Americans should know. Why do these names alone get continually repeated?

      Why are Plato, Cervantes,  Conrad, etc. more important to be examined than:  Ralph Ellison, Pedro Neruda, Chinua Achebe, Gandhi, Frantz Fanon, Martin Luthor King Audrey Lorde, Ntozake Shange, Lorraine Hansberry (a number of the latter being black & gay -- should not high school with its population of "hormones with feet" be the place to examine our notions of sexuality).  All of these, even the non-fiction writers, used words like poetry.

      Which group will more stimulate our NYC students to want to read, and which group will grab their hearts and minds first?

      Fortunately we don't have to choose --- how about a curriculum that focuses on comparative literature so that students confront existential themes in both Dostoyevsky and Achebe; of injustice in both Melville and Fanon,  of yearning in both Cervantes and Lorde?

      To me, not only is this more likely to excite students, who then may themselves be moved to read Plato or Yeats on the recommendation of teachers, but it will situate literature in the context of a world, which is increasingly non-white. 
      I came late in life to many of these writers; my own education was vastly deficient. So expanding who & what we include has importance for all Americans.  

      With a broader perspective, maybe we as a people will be less willing to engage in violent intervention in the affairs of others around the world, because we will have developed empathy and compassion from the recognition that others have had articulate wordsmiths who demonstrate our common humanity across the world's people.

      Josh


    • robert bowen
      Well said (written), Josh.   Oneness, Rob ... From: Josh Karan Subject: [nyceducationnews] Re: Ravitch Answers Gates To:
      Message 2 of 3 , Dec 2, 2010
        Well said (written), Josh.
         
        Oneness,
        Rob


        --- On Tue, 11/30/10, Josh Karan <joshkaran2@...> wrote:

        From: Josh Karan <joshkaran2@...>
        Subject: [nyceducationnews] Re: Ravitch Answers Gates
        To: nyceducationnews@yahoogroups.com
        Date: Tuesday, November 30, 2010, 11:30 PM

         
        Steve Koss wrote:

        "I used to think that a deep and thorough knowledge of American and
         
        world history, facility with algebra-based mathematics, conceptual as 
        well as hands-on knowledge of science, understanding of the history of 
        art, and of course knowledge of, and ability to read and share Plato, 
        Cervantes, Conrad, Melville, Dickens, Hawthorne, Dostoyevsky, 
        Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Keats, Shelley, Pope, Yeats, T.S. Eliot, 
        Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, Emerson, Thoreau, and the like were 
        what constituted a good education by the end of high school. Never have 
        I felt like such a dinosaur where it comes to education as now."


        Sorry Steve. On this one I need disagree.  

        I perceive such a list to be seriously deficient.  Not that these are not all great writers, but are they the extent of what a high school curriculum should be for a student population which is 80% black & brown, half of these being female.  The above list appears to me to be akin to the Dead White Men's compilation of 20 years ago by E.D. Hirsch, who assembled a 60 page appendix of What Literate Americans should know. Why do these names alone get continually repeated?

        Why are Plato, Cervantes,  Conrad, etc. more important to be examined than:  Ralph Ellison, Pedro Neruda, Chinua Achebe, Gandhi, Frantz Fanon, Martin Luthor King Audrey Lorde, Ntozake Shange, Lorraine Hansberry (a number of the latter being black & gay -- should not high school with its population of "hormones with feet" be the place to examine our notions of sexuality).  All of these, even the non-fiction writers, used words like poetry.

        Which group will more stimulate our NYC students to want to read, and which group will grab their hearts and minds first?

        Fortunately we don't have to choose --- how about a curriculum that focuses on comparative literature so that students confront existential themes in both Dostoyevsky and Achebe; of injustice in both Melville and Fanon,  of yearning in both Cervantes and Lorde?

        To me, not only is this more likely to excite students, who then may themselves be moved to read Plato or Yeats on the recommendation of teachers, but it will situate literature in the context of a world, which is increasingly non-white. 
        I came late in life to many of these writers; my own education was vastly deficient. So expanding who & what we include has importance for all Americans.  

        With a broader perspective, maybe we as a people will be less willing to engage in violent intervention in the affairs of others around the world, because we will have developed empathy and compassion from the recognition that others have had articulate wordsmiths who demonstrate our common humanity across the world's people.

        Josh


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