Tag Archives: Education



The Fraud of Education Reform under Capitalism

by Jack Barnes

“Until society is reorganized so that education is a human activity from the time we are very young until the time we die, there will be no education worthy of working, creating humanity.”

US $3  Also in Spanish and French.

ISBN 978-0-87348-918-8

Pathfinder Press

For a complete catalog visit http://www.pathfinderpress.com

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Dale Lightfoot- IRAQ (MODERN WORLD NATIONS SERIES), Youth Non-Fiction

      IRAQ (MODERN WORLD NATIONS SERIES) by Dale Lightfoot, series editor Charles F. Gritzner (Chelsea House Publishers, 2007)

      Part of the MODERN NATIONS SERIES by Chelsea House Publishers, this entry on Iraq is clearly written, well organzed, and nicely illustrated (great photos and maps).  Written by a former contractor who worked with Iraqi universities to rebuild the country’s educational program, this book gives a thorough overview of Iraq’s culture, geography, and history, but also touches on popular culture, and youth culture.  (Middle School and up)

      The Middle East Outreach Council established the Middle East Book Award in 1999 to recognize books for children and young adults that contribute meaning-fully to an understanding of the Middle East.  Books are judged on the authenticity of their portrayal of the Middle Eastern subject, as well as on their characterization, plot, and appeal for the inteneded audience.  Awards are announced in Novemenber for books published during the period from January of the previous year through September of the current year.  For the purposes of this award, “The Middle East” is defined as the Arab World, Iran, Isreal, Turkey, and Afghanistan.

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Randy Ford Author-An American to a Philippine Principal “Phooey!”

      There we find my Susan.   All day teaching teachers consumed her while I taught across town in Diliman.

      Mr. Araya considered himself lucky to have a Peace Corps volunteer assigned to his school.   He really did and showed it, and he let everyone know.   But he didn’t know how to fully utilize Susan.   He wanted to overlook her when it came to painting the school.   She was willing to pitch in and help them get ready for Marcos.   She had to stop Mr. Araya from treating her as a trophy.

      Not too long afterwards he said, in a well-meaning way (it wasn’t easy for him to talk to her informally), “Susan, you have to think of the example you set.   You mustn’t be seen sitting on the floor.”

      Susan said, “Why does that matter?   I was reading a story in English to some students after school.”

      To Mr. Araya the provocation was not that.   He said, “I knew you were reading a story.   That I don’t object to.”

      “I’m sorry, but…no one else was around.”

      “I bring this up only because I am the principal here, and it is my duty to give instructions.   I know you’re new to the Philippines, and I’m not acting, as a Filipino should.   But I am the principal here, and it is my duty.   I am embarrassed for you.”

      Susan said in reply, “I won’t sit on the floor again.”

      Mr. Araya said, “To me it doesn’t matter whether you sit on the floor or not.   It comes down to the example we set in these classrooms.   We have to be examples of a moral life.   Children learn from what they see and live what they learn.   But I can’t tell you what to do.”

      “I said I wouldn’t sit on the floor.”

      “You have to know that we’re thankful to the United States Government for sending you to us.   Why would we not be thankful?”

      “I appreciate you bringing this to my attention.”

      “May you find here every reason to be happy with us and by your example may our children become more intelligent, more capable of wisdom and justice, and live lives more useful and noble.   You were brought to us to help us with this.”

      Susan said, “You think so.”   And Mr. Araya ended there, having said more than he intended.

      The next day Mr. Araya invited Susan to stay after school for a rehearsal of the Pupils Glee Club and Teachers Choral Group.   They were slated to sing for President Marcos.   They would sing the National Anthem and two or three songs each.   Then would come the dance troupe and the Rondalla.

      It was Susan’s way of getting more involved.   It was how she came to participate in the pigeon project and from there to going down on her hands and knees, to sowing some seeds for her own plant for life.   Yes, I said on her hands and knees, and I must add get her hands and knees dirty, and the students, with their smiles and clean uniforms, liked watching her, as they nurtured their own plants for life.

      The precedent was set, and Susan was all set to redefine her place in the school.   It began with the Pigeon Project and the poop involved in that.   Even Mr. Araya had to smile.   Here was an American woman whom, with her sleeves rolled up to her elbows, decided to invest her time in pigeon poop and went from there to digging in the dirt, and did it with dignity.   On the edge of what was and was not acceptable, she defined her project and decided to live or die by it.   She related to the culture as best she could and knew that she’d make mistakes.   She came to school in jeans.   The painting job was what motivated her to do that.   She pushed back to show that she was as capable as anyone else, once the painting of the school began in earnest.   It was a hard, painful job for her, humbling, and her principal, after he allowed himself, demonstrated his appreciation with formality.

Randy Ford

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Randy-the writer in me says, git over it

      I wasn’t interested in drama until my senior year of high school.   I hadn’t been exposed to it.   It was the same with opera and other “long-hair music” (my father’s name for classical music) and shows how exposure or lack of it determines taste.   We are to a large degree what we take in; we’re part of our family’s story, then of our culture.   Perhaps my parents can’t be blamed for not liking opera.   We lived, after all, in a blue-color, north-central Texas town; and our idea of a good time was fishing.   (Living in Vienna and the availability of cheap tickets gave me the opportunity to appreciate opera; it was also after I had acquired a theater background.   My wife exposed me to classical music, which I love now more than any other kind.)   To discover and value any art form, from Shakespeare to Mozart, from Wagner to Picasso, we have to have our eyes and ears open; and to someone from my kind background that kind of receptiveness didn’t come naturally.   I had to teach myself to listen to music, just as writing a sentence didn’t come automatically.

      I grew up with “can’t” instead of “can.”   I can’t spell, I can’t be a smart as Joe Farmer.   I couldn’t catch a baseball, so naturally I couldn’t play first base.   That kind of thinking affected me, whether I fit in or not; and my self-esteem was low: an outsider (I wrote my first snippets of dialogue to gain attention); an exaggerator, a showoff.

      But my imagination, where I spent a good deal of my time, instead of studying, had no limits.   If I had had someone who had taken the time to give me the individual attention that I needed and had exposed me earlier to what I now value (art, music, literature and theater), maybe it would’ve given me a more solid foundation than I have now.   And maybe I wouldn’t feel as limited as I do.   About my family, the parents I rejected to a large extent, I know they did their best and gave me all they could. What’s more they were intelligent, loving, and caring (something I took for granted).   Out of such homes many of us have come.   The environment (whatever it was) from which we came may have lacked some things we wished it didn’t, some important and some cosmetic (and in my case, some that I was ashamed of), but I would be willing to bet that for most of us the basics were there.   As a boy, I lived easily without some of the things I now value most: the art of Shakespeare, Mozart, Wagner, Picasso to name a few.   I envy, however, people who were exposed to what I missed at an early age.

Randy Ford

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