About Jake Matthews

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So far Jake Matthews has created 7 blog entries.

Let the Nurturers Nurture

There were some amazing stories of human courage and compassion that came out of the horrors in Newtown, Connecticut. Teacher Vicki Soto gave her precious young life to protect her tiny first graders. Shielding them from harm was her first instinct and her last act. In the face of terror unimaginable, her instinct to protect the defenseless students who depended on her for their safety and well-being did not fail. If you think about it, she did this very thing each and every day. She went to that school and protected those children from the meanness of life as she spoke to them, I’m sure, in gentle teacher tones about being nice to one another, sharing, how to treat others who were different than them. She made choices daily about what language and tone to use in front of children, what attitudes to take and what clothes to wear. I didn’t know this amazing teacher, but in reading about her and knowing the calling she followed with her life, I can say with confidence that she spent the five years of her all-too-short career protecting little ones from harm on a daily basis. […]

Data-Driven Politics

One of the driving forces behind the advancement of bubble-test tyranny in our school systems today is the concept of data-driven decision-making. Back before we tested every student in every subject on almost every day of the year, cigar-chomping school administrators just pulled decisions out of their backsides and hoped they worked. They threw the proverbial spaghetti at the wall to see if it would stick. This is why the USA was a wasteland of writhing ignorance before Pearson and ETS came along and saved us. The poor benighted administrators operating in the pre-Pearson epoch couldn’t be sure if the decisions they made actually did any good. How could they possibly know without any bubble test scores going up or down? These were the dark ages of education, when decisions were made based on human interactions and personal feedback. […]

Unreason on the Throne of American Thought

Conspiracy theories have long enjoyed a quirky place in American public life. We’ve questioned whether there was a second shooter when President Kennedy was assassinated, whether the moon landing actually happened, whether Elvis really died, and whether 9-11 was an inside job. Conspiracy theorists alleging UFO cover-ups have been with us for years. Alternatives to the official versions of events have proven to be resilient even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. I offer that this is because the conspiracist mindset is inoculated against logic with a sturdy defense mechanism that deftly and almost automatically eschews problematic evidence. Today, frighteningly, the conspiracy theorists’ bread-and-butter—this oft-tortuous and perhaps subconscious denial of contradictory evidence and easy embrace (and eager promulgation) of even the most questionable of supporting proofs—is threatening to own the American mind. […]

By | October 29th, 2012|Educational Reform, Opinion, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Inexcusable Sympathies

There was a time when standing up for public school teachers in the United States was not merely acceptable behavior, it was actually the cultural norm. We gave our teachers accolades in the public arena, hoping that our efforts at demonstrating our united esteem might somehow make up for the low pay we afforded them. Those days are long gone now. Speaking up on behalf of teachers almost automatically provokes a response from an assortment of folks who would prefer that we keep the focus of our national education conversation on failing schools and rubber room teachers. They have their reasons, those in the chorus screaming “Demonize them!” There are the education entrepreneurs who are engaged in deadly-serious business competition against the public schools. They want–need is a better word–public schools to sit in ill repute so that the school chains in which they hold a financial stake may expand. […]