Don't Be Deceived by Appearances

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Joined: 14 Dec 2004
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Location: Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:53 pm
PostPost subject: Don't Be Deceived by Appearances
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The Puppetools Web Site looks pretty quiet and underutilized these days, but don't be deceived by its appearance. a

A master marketing plan is in the works that will advance the Puppetools name and concept in small towns and cities all across the land. Play is the most powerful social, learning, and healing force, and Puppetools intends to leverage and harness its energy to lift and transform the world's learning culture.

Yes, 'tis a bold and ambitious venture, but no more so than other quests that have contributed to the human story. Education has long languished as society's step child, an orphan abandoned by all who look down their noses and expect her to perform and transform as if she were a wand-wielding faerie godmother.

At the end of life, America consigns its aging parents to institutional homes instead of welcoming them into the caring arms of the family. As childhood education begins in the primary grades, children are distanced from the home and parents and consigned to 12 years of forced labor in the endless production of test scores in a learning culture devoid of nature, freedom of movement, speech, curiosity, laughter, and adults who love children and are empowered to play and explore with them.

The nature of experience in the modern classroom appears organized and proper to the outside world; after all, children may not behave all the time, but they are corralled and out of mischief. Good enough for most of us, I guess, because the country easily tolerates this system it has created for its young.

Yet, all is not placid. The proof is in the pudding, and the pudding has gone bad. America is in a crisis of productivity in its lack of meaningful inventions, its poor economic life, and in its inability to solve major problems. What has gone wrong?

Let's assume that our system of education has been progressing successfully over the last 5 decades. Our schools should be filled with vibrant, creative, multilingual teachers, our engineering and technology sectors should be robust, our economy thriving, our government visionary and world-respected, and our society filled with positive, healthy, and tolerant citizens.

Instead, our young people increasingly are obese and their minds held hostage inside the computer monitor when they are not in school, or living in their post-college childhood homes with their parents unable to jump-start their lives. Our system of education has made them victims of an overcontrolled learning culture that has disenfranchised and disengaged them from the world in the name of education. They have been tested, but have not, in the deepest sense, truly learned.

Ways must be found to slay the monster we have created. If we don't, the inner compass of self-reliance and the spirit of freedom the nation was founded on will disappear quietly right in step with the growing numbers of endangered species that our voracious habits of consumption and development will, as a matter of course, exterminate.

Today, we are enraged with China's domination of Tibet, but our own schools remain factories where the minds of our children remain secondary to the demands of the system. China stopped binding the feet of women and has moved toward the stated opening of its schools. In America, Republican and Democratic leaders alike debate the the various facets of No Child Left Behind, but haven't the sense to recognize when the intellectual freedom of teachers has been usurped by legislation and the birthrights of our children have been denied.
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