Philosophy 391: Selected Philosophical Issues in Educational Reform
Spring 2014, CRN 26857; Meets 2-3:30 Thursdays in BSS 211
Format: discussion, student presentations, lecture. All readings will be posted to Moodle or linked via Syllabus, or will be handed out in class. No texts to purchase.
John W. Powell; office 502c Behavioral and Social Sciences building;
Office hours: 1:30-2:30 MW (not F), Thurs 1-3, and by appointment. I'm in my office a lot, including most mornings other than Tuesdays. If I am not teaching or in a committee meeting, I am fairly likely to be in my office; feel free to drop in.
Phone x5753, but e-mail is preferred; email@example.com
This course continues a series--two series, actually. I have offered these one-credit seminar/reading groups each semester, usually dealing with metaphilosophy, language, or Wittgenstein, since I began teaching at HSU back when the world was still in black and white. Topics have been so varied that the word "usually" is misleading. Recent topics (the syllabi remain on my website) have mostly been on metaphilosophy. I like my topics, and by now this is a long list. Topics have included the following: origins of philosophical problems and stakes involved outside philosophy; Wittgenstein's methods of questioning questions and referring philosophical uses of language to "ordinary language" (meaning conversations or narratives in which the terms or words are not at issue); nonphilosophical examples; examination of assumptions behind contemporary schools of philosophy (such as constructionism, Rorty's pragmatism, postmodernism and other attacks on philosophy); applicability problems for ethical theories; and so on. The most recent have been on justifiability of religious belief; sources of philosophical problems; consequences or effects of philosophical problems outside of philosophy; paradoxes; and then a year ago an introduction to issues about educational reform.
These reading groups are not common either on campus or away from HSU. Here in the philosophy department they serve faculty working on problems of interest to them in a setting in which students can come along for the ride and sometimes help. Students then get a chance to engage in doing philosophy as well as finding out what philosophers have said. The department has agreed that students may use three of these one-credit reading groups, if passed with a letter grade of C or better, in place of one of the three-credit electives required for the major. The reading groups are overloads for faculty--we do not get paid for offering them. Some of us do offer them regularly as a way to keep ourselves current with scholarship, as a way to begin drafting papers or articles, and as a way to include in our teaching topics in which we have particular interests which would otherwise not come up so often or in such depth. Some of us also teach particular topics at students' requests.
Notice Regarding Grading: I give more F's in these one-credit seminars than in any other of my upper-division courses. Here's a possible explanation. The discussions tend to be informal, the pacing of writing assignments is up to students, students are given responsibility for fulfilling the requirements for attendance, preparation, and writing. It is, apparently, easy to forget the grading requirements until it is no longer possible to meet them. I do not nag students. This semester I will call some writing projects requirements instead of suggestions (although I hate doing that), and we'll see how it goes. Although you are well-advised to keep writing and posting your work along the way, you are also free to stay in denial about your grade until it is too late.
Description: Our ideas of education and educational reform are often a window into our philosophies of life and our views of our cultures' successes and failures. If you think everything's been going downhill since (fill in the blank here with just about anything--the advent of some particular kind of music, some broad religious or political movement, a war, the new math, affirmative action, feminism, Keynsian monetary theory, the Copenhagen interpretation in quantum theory, whatever--including smaller but symbolic developments you think are signs of the Apocalypse, from touchscreens to the Tea Party to the withering of the HSU library's book-buying budget to newspapers dying off like flies--you are likely to find those views are consistent with your notions of what is really needed in education. I've had students who think the world needs more science, more facts, more law and order, less touchy-feely cosmic woowoo emotional bullshit, and other students who think science squeezes the heart and soul out of everything, murders to dissect, teaches nothing about the crucial values of what it studies and preaches, does not teach the crucial questioning of law and order, and that science has squashed creativity out of fear of hard questions and subversion, where everything of value starts. But the same reflection of your cultural values is visible whether you look at those items as signs of a new and better world or as signs of the apocalypse--how you see education probably becomes visible at the same time. And yet, there is a tendency to think of education as (as Freud remarked regarding love) on a separate page. This ambivalence regarding whether education and educational reform are distinct subjects may be important to our work in this class, but we will have to work with particulars before we come back to it. A conviction that there is a great deal that needs reformed in education may correlate with a conviction that a great deal needs to be rethought in philosophy--and that implies that our own philosophical views may be in need of re-examination.
I'll say a bit about the personal history that led to this course, and then comment more generally on history of educational reform. My first work on this was prompted by the then chancellor of the CSU, Barry Munitz, pressing the campuses to be more productive and more efficient. I had been working for decades to help at-risk students be more successful and realized that success was different from productivity and different from efficiency. Trying to think that through led to my essay in the journal Thought and Action about fifteen years ago on what education is for. I was getting more and more involved (or enlabyrinthed) in university governance as the movement to make higher ed more productive metastasized nationwide and begat further moves to make universities more accountable. Here then is a warning and a simple argument: If you are committed to the current productivity and accountability movements in higher ed, this seminar may be difficult to handle (although it might give you a chance to sharpen your arguments, or it might make you change your mind, though that's pretty rare). Here's the argument. If you don't know what you are producing but you are hell-bent on producing it faster and more of it, then your situation is precarious and may need to be rethought. Further, current reformers do not, in fact, know what higher ed produces. They are blind to many of the central accomplishments of higher ed. Therefore their reforms need to be re-examined. That argument is one of the main arguments in the piece in Thought and Action. To take that line of thought still further, I'll quote Will Rogers, to whom is attributed the claim that "It's not the things we don't know that get us into trouble; it's the things we do know that ain't so." That is in fact the current situation in higher ed.
The history of educational reform is full of controversies and failures. A professor of American Intellectual History when I was a graduate student before switching to philosophy remarked offhandedly that only the history of educational reform could match housing reform (our topic at the time) for overall dreariness. There are some pieces of this which do not seem to fit together. Contemporary American education is generally judged harshly, or at least it is a favorite target for vehement criticism, though historically American universities have attracted the best of students and the best of professors from around the world. Some of that is for a mix of reasons, admittedly including some that might have little to do with education and more to do with availability of careers and money. The analysis of flaws in American education including higher ed is wildly uneven in quality. It is hard to tell what our successes and what our failures are, but that hardly slows anyone down in recommending reforms, from minor tuneups through overhauls to burning universities down and starting over (don't roll your eyes like that--it's been done). I can't say I see the whole set of issues clearly, but I am convinced that a new and different kind of analysis might be a crucial help, and that philosophical work will be part of that. By "philosophical work" I mean articulating assumptions accepted by opposing sides and finding ways not to accept them, in hopes that may show us some parts of how to rethink educational reform.
In other words, this class will work to articulate selected main issues and some of the main possibilities for making education better in our contemporary situation. We will do this by looking at selected broad-brush history of education world-wide and then American education in particular, and then go on to examine and critique some recent calls for reform which are unpromising, doomed, myopic, foolish, unrealistic, or wrong-headed. We may take note of some clear failures if those seem to illuminate contemporary calls for reform. The philosophy comes in as attempts to dig under superficial controveries to find basic assumptions guiding reforms. Some philosophers and would-be philosophers have done work of this kind for us, and some reformers have strayed into philosophical work without knowing they were doing so--this may help illuminate what philosophy is and the possible roles philosophers can play in educational reform.
That's not saying much about specific issues so far. Here are some examples of topics--we may choose from this list what to investigate. (Links to some of the references are gathered at the end.)
The current fad of offering majors and choices to students originates roughly at the same time as commitments to increase the availability of higher education to more of the general population than just the moneyed and landed elite, those preparing for religious vocations, and those who are to become their tutors. Those elites had generally been white males, often exercising colonial power. We can still see remnants of these facts in the educations of the wealthy and the powerful, and in reform movements of those who call for revolutions against ruling powers. Education has been thought by some to be a force that can nurture liberation if it is made more accessible to more people, though it has certainly been used for indoctrination and suppression of liberty. (How does it become one or the other?--now there's a topic for your seven pages--or for your Ph.D. dissertation.)
Some counterproductive effects of changes in national education laws and policies may have been inevitable. Some changes had inadvertant effects of stifling liberation and strengthening centralization of power even when that was contrary to reformers' goals. This may be true, for instance, with one of the earliest and most profound reforms, compulsory education. Requiring that all children go to school meant that governments had to build and staff those schools, and gradually it seemed that the supervision of those schools shifted away from the local communities to larger and larger governmental divisions up through states to the feds. In effect, this put the dominant culture in charge of the schools and left those who were not on good terms with the dominant culture relegated to roles as outsiders. The various home-schooling movements provide windows into these issues. John Taylor Gatto is one of the fiercest critics of the pathologies which are engendered by compulsory schooling, in essays such as "The Seven-Lesson Teacher" and books such as Dumbing Us Down.
- Thorsten Veblen's deeply subversive 1918 volume The Higher Learning in America: A Memorandum on the Conduct of Universities by Businessmen follows up on his exposure of America's fundamentalist religion of money and excess in Theory of the Leisure Class. Businesslike virtues of efficiency and productivity (geared toward power, ostentation, and establishment of manageable hierarchies), we learn, may be prophesied to drive out basic joys of education, thinking and understanding. Management becomes each university president's goal and learning becomes secondary. Professors work to turn out copies of themselves, only more docile, and grading is a primary tool of enforcement. Successful students are those who uncritically drink the Kool-aid (actually Flavorade, which is cheaper) and adopt the goal of getting jobs which alienate themselves from their own independent thinking.
- Marx. Mix Marx with educational reform and you produce very interesting and often cautionary histories. The student-led changes in France in the late 1960's increased attention to providing short-term fixes under headings of "relevance" and "applicability" with more power to students. Evaluations of present longer-term results of those events are still matters of intense debate. To the extent economic solutions were guided by those with mediocre educations (who condemned elitism of their opponents), they may have disempowered those whose analyses were relatively agenda-free and shaped by more complex and longer-term views. Paolo Friere's Pedagogy of the Oppressed finds remedies for oppression in the concept of dialogue, which he makes into a powerful force against colonial power and against the oppressive view of education as filling the empty vessels of those who are oppressed with the answers provided by rulers. (He takes crucial ingredients for this hopeful view from Hegel's philosophy of history and the generation of contradictions within oppression, and Kant's and Nietzsche's treatments of slave mentality.) We may approach Friere through bell hooks (sic--no caps) Teaching to Transgress: Education As the Practice of Freedom. James Herndon, less overtly led by Marx but drawing from the same springs of sympathy with the proletariat, still finds keys to power in subversive unions with those who are oppressed and robbed of their voices in his memoir of teaching, The Way It Spozed to Be. Some might use Mao's Great Leap Forward as another cautionary example, though it seems to me the philosophical lines of thought had little to do with the destruction Mao wrought.
The federal government's first major initiative in shaping higher education, the 1861 Morrill Act (with its several legislative children), allocated over seventeen million acres of land to be used (or sold and the revenues used) for establishing agricultural- and engineering-oriented colleges and universities, with profound effects not just in training but also in research and (somewhat inadvertantly) establishing homes for intellectuals across the country. With these universities there were implemented systems of extension services and agricultural research stations which had the effect of making friends for universities of farmers, engineers, businesspersons (mostly businessmen) and politicians. This also had the effect, perhaps an opposing effect, of making friends for politicians among
The federal government's packages of educational benefits for military veterans have generally aimed at helping veterans work toward bachelor's degrees, though veterans have also been able to use them toward graduate work, including writing dissertations about Trotsky and Marx. The main interest in articulating the
effects of these benefits has been in tracking how much more education veterans received and how much more income that produced for them.
The feds have become more involved in administering and then in providing financial aid for college students. Pell grants, which began in 1965 and currently stand at a maximum per student of $5,635.oo per year, have been diminishing as a percentage of a typical student's expenses, shifting financial aid more to loans in which the feds also play roles as lenders and supervisors of other lenders. These helps for students were targeted toward students who othewise would not have financial resources to go to college. The Pell Grant program has grown to over 9 million students per year and makes up the bulk of federal spending for higher ed, nearing 35 billion dollars in the current budget, of which 28 billion goes for grants. When the program came under attack in the throes of budget cutting two years ago, the Chronicle of Higher Education
asked some experts to weigh in on its likely future including possible reforms:
The Federal education budget request and justification
for 2012 is here.
- A recent theme in educational reforms has been to link proposed changes with making education more businesslike, reducing waste, making education more productive, stopping students from getting away with inintended uses of aid provided by the national and state governments, reducing the role of debt and making education and students pay their own way. To me this is strongly suggestive of a resurgence of Nietzsche's ressentiment a kind of envy and grasping-and-withholding impulse that generates negative judgements by unsympathetic managers and legislators and bureaucrats, outsiders of the classroom processes. During the Viet Nam war, this took the form of characterizing higher education's then-accelerating and yet longer trajectory as providing havens for professional students and prolonged adolescence, as though those were not preferable to taking a place in an assemblyline job or in an infantryman's uniform. One thing I hope to do in this class is take a closer look at attempts to reduce time to degree by punishing those students who get too goddamned much education. That is, of course, a biased way to put the question--perhaps more neutral would be to call for an analysis of the concept of too much education, which sounds more philosophical though it too still results in a biased agenda.
- Personality conflicts with reformers and conflicts among reformers are a worthy separate topic that invites us to psychoanalyze them and their mothers--and, I suppose, their fathers. Reformers themselves are not always very good with analysis or working with arguments, and the tendency toward tunnel vision affects both the reformers as well as those who view reformers as bomb-throwing Bolsheviks. Reformers on this view tend to be anti-authoritarian, anarchist-leaning, idealistic to such an extent that their followers are set up for disillusion and failure. Some of them may be impatient with working for structural change, distrustful of their peers--in a word, subversives. Mao's biography and an exchange between Gordon Allport and Freud can provide us an entry here.
Writing Assignments and Grading:
Attendance is required;
Students who miss more than three of our fifteen classes will not receive a grade higher than a C+. Writing is also required, specifically seven pages or 1750 words. See the warning note above about the alarming number of F's given out in these seminars. All student essays will be shared with the class via the Moodle forum. Essays need not develop views; articulating or clarifying problems or pointing out relationships with other thinkers, for example, are appropriate tasks for course writing. There will be quite a lot of leeway regarding topics and whether students write many short essays or a long one, though some suggestions will be made in class and posted on Moodle. A default set of grading criteria keyed to a three part essay structure is on my website and will be posted on Moodle. Students who do not meet the writing requirement will not pass the course. That does NOT mean, however, that turning in enough words guarantees a good grade. I do not give Incompletes.
Members of the class will go over this document and quick sketches of the readings in order to set up what we read and in what order, after paddling around in the shallow end of the pool (I plan to start us out with three or four essays I wrote). There will in general be a new reading assignment for each class meeting, and they vary from delightful, funny, easy-to-read and profound, on the one hand, to deadly dull antiquated prose, very slow going, on the other. Look at them ahead. Be cautious about sending materials to the printer before you have checked to see how many hundreds of pages long they are. As soon as we have a list and an order of readings, students will sign up to present particular essays to the class to start discussions. If those presentations include a written summary or other handout by the presenter those will count toward the writing requirement.
jwp's "What's Education For?" in Thought and Action, November 98: available from their archives at the National Education Association's publications website. We probably should fix this.
- jwp calling into question outcomes assessment and other accountability initiatives, in The Journal of Academic Freedom
"Conceptual Problems with Outcomes Assessment".
More generally, a defective manifesto by jwp on where philosophy might make a difference, thinking about damage done by Cartesian dualism and Platonism.
Another more general jwp piece from TPM, formerly known as The Philosophers' Magazine, a British rag: What Are the Criteria for a Good Argument? (Answer: There aren't any.)
jwp review in Journal of General Education of a report on GE reform efforts nationwide from the Center for the Study of Higher Ed at UCBerkeley, entitled General Education for the 21st Century.
As part of thinking of context for educational reforms, consider tribal educations without schools. These educations, like educations all over the world before the existence of schools, featured storytelling and apprenticeships, oral traditions and oral literatures. Below, an English professor friend of mine in Eugene reports on a sabbatical in which he tried to get in touch with his family's and tribe's oral traditions. Vine Deloria, Jr. hearkens to those traditions when he talks of Indian humor, and reminds us that the transmission of jokes is a place where something like oral traditions and their transmission separate from curricula and schools still have a primary place, as was even more true for most tribal societies before North America succumbed to the fad of white education. The Navajo, of whom I have a little knowledge, have a rich system of rituals originating long before white contact which include narratives, chants, music, sandpaintings, all learned by "singers" or medicine men or women who have been through apprenticeships lasting many years. Some of the rituals last over a week and are attended by large extended families and clans. The interlocking elements of these rituals could, I suppose, be regarded as a common core or as a General Education that helps define what it is to be educated Dine or Navajo Nation citizens. Navajo I have talked with, including Harry Walters, the past director of the museum tasked with archiving records of these rituals, tend to resist white attempts to classify the pieces separate from the constellation or the firmament of ritual practices to which they are related. For instance, Walters denies that the sand paintings are art--he does this because, I think, thinking of the sandpaintings as art diminishes or neglects the possibility of thinking of them as prayers, or as tools of health professionals for maintaining personal capacities, or as histories, or as symbols of the tribe's roots in a common set of histories, or as collective articulations of psychiatric therapy, or as gifts from the Navajo divinities, or as possessions of the Dine people as a whole. I tend, when elders explain these matters to me as if talking to a surprisingly ignorant teenager, to feel jealous and to wonder why 21st Century American dominant culture has no remotely near equivalent and I wonder about the extent to which lacking this adds to a lack of cohesion (I could say fragmentation) among people in our culture.
Professor Andrew Viles' report on working to recover oral traditions and stories in his life from his tribe, the Siletz, of Oregon's central coast and inland. Sabbatical Leave Report See also his letter to Senator Ron Wyden
in support of funding a longhouse on the University of Oregon campus.
Thomas King, "The One About Coyote Going West;" King has a series of trickster tales updated to contemporary settings, many of them with the humorous treatments featured in the original oral traditions.
Louis Owens, "Blessed Sunshine"
and jwp's reading of Owens' "Blessed Sunshine"
One of Vine Deloria's essays about Indian Humor Of course, humor is passed on via oral traditions, builds communities, resolves tensions and issues, and generally is out of reach of outcomes assessment or accountability initiatives.
Powell's memorial note re: Vine Deloria from the American Philosophical Association's Newsletter on American Indians in Philosophy This is available on the APA's archives, but they have been flitting from server to server, so I've put a copy of the .pdf
up on my website. This note includes points regarding where there are real stakes in philosophy and Deloria's beliefs about the importance of philosophy. My view of Deloria is more akin to that of some of his other Indian admirers than it is to that of white commentators, who tend not to recognize when he is kidding. An example is the piece in the same issue about Deloria's work The Metaphysics of Modern Existence.
A standard reference work, for those who are interested, surveying Navajo ceremonial systems, including the narratives, the sandpaintings, the practitioners, accounts of white investigators, etc.
"The Dreamer, His Brothers, and Gods" Hosteen Klah's account of the four brothers and the Gods narrative, an element of the Nightway or Yeibichai nine-days-and-nights ceremonial system.
Now, back to non-American Indian sources:
John Dewey, "My Pedagogic Creed" from School Journal, v. 54, 1897. Dewey is a towering figure in American philosophy and his philosophy of education is one of his most enduring accomplishments. This piece is Dewey at his best and at his worst. It is meaty, practical, fast-moving, direct, easy to follow, fierce. But it contains almost no arguments, and reads more like a list of obvious truths. Arguments can be found for most of these claims elsewhere in Dewey, but we may be able to save ourselves work first by clarifying where the live issues are. For his work on balancing an activist role of students and avoidance of an excess of regarding the student as a customer or consumer, see his The Child and the Curriculum (1902). This anticipates Friere's attack against education as banking, stuffing unquestioned intellectual currencies into empty vessels.
James Herndon, from The Way It Spozed to Be, an influential memoir (funny and heartrending and well-written) of an engaged teacher, trying to work his own reforms.
Postman and Weingartner, Teaching as a Subversive Activity A guidebook to reform movements, to possibilities for current reforms, and to the place of subversion as a basis for reform.
From bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress, Pages 1-58. We are mainly after the interview about Friere, but the preceding chapters give its context. I may scan and post another chapter, on building a teaching community.
- "Against School" by John Taylor Gatto from The Atlantic. See also
the book, Dumbing Us Down
Friere's classic Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Columbia College's Core Curriculum, with a profile of Jacques Barzun as the entry. Barzun was Provost and President of Columbia University, of which the college was the main undergraduate division. He died two years ago at 104, kicking ass to the end. He repeatedly spoke out against the fragmentation of general education programs, and helped make the case for the "Great Books" programs which have been adopted by several illustrious colleges and universities. Columbia, the University of Chicago (
under Robert Hutchins with the help, if that's what it was, of the philosopher Mortimer Adler, St. John's college and several other liberal arts colleges and university honors colleges had versions. See Barzun's The House of Intellect or The American University (published during the ferocious student-powered revolts of the late 60's). The New Yorker film critic and writer David Denby's book The Great Books: My Adventures with Homer, Rousseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World tells of his return to Columbia University thirty years later to sit in the classes again for a re-evaluation. He points out that the curriculum includes great ideas but also includes great and ferocious attacks against those ideas, which offers some protection against any dominant culture imposing a provincial view.
John Henry Newman, "The Idea of a University" (1854) on the need not to confuse the university for a training ground, or a place for only practical knowledge, as well as other hazards.
John Milton (yes, THAT John Milton), "Of Education." Anecdote: Milton had no access to Siri but, as we all know, went blind, but needed to be able to read in the worst way, but the reading he needed to do was Latin and Greek and Hebrew texts, but no one was available to read those to him, but he did not need the reader to understand the texts, just read them. He taught his daughters to read those languages aloud but had no need to teach them to understand what they were reading, so didn't. In the curriculum outlined in this essay, he remarks that the pupils can pick up other languages at any spare moment.
A very brief look at the history of the British tutorial system, still going fairly strong. This is from one of the Oxford colleges, and includes references for more information. I used parts of this method at the University of Oregon working with students at high risk of dropping out. In particular, we used a weekly individual session in which a one thousand word essay was read, graded and commented, and we agreed on the topic for the next week. It is a transformative process which requires commitment and sustained work. (Benjamin Jowett, whom many of you know from his translations of Plato's dialogues, was a main architect and force for implementation of the tutorial system.)
Trotsky, including remarks on education. One thing of interest is the underlying conventionality of values in these revolutionary documents.
Mao's Little Red Book
Thomas Jefferson, letter to Charles Yancey, Jan 6, 1816.
Jefferson on education as a civil liberty and a way to limit (abuse of) power.
Frank Ebersole joked that it is a short step from this letter to the view that an essential goal of higher education is to teach graduates enough that they will know to vote whoever is in power, out. One need not take it quite that far to see that higher education becomes on Jefferson's view part of the package of civil liberties by which citizens are protected from abuse of power and from fads. One might wonder then, "How shall we develop tests for how well students are learning this?"
Zen koans as educational method, three or four pieces by John Tarrant. You might consider how to do outcomes assessment or accountability initiatives within this tradition.
Sketch of general aims and an example
Another general intro with some claims about goals. Be careful not to take enlightenment as any grand or substantial thing.
An interview with John Tarrant.
On Inconceivability One student claimed this is an advanced reading. It's one of my favorites.
Thorsten Veblen's devastating, caustic, funny, and difficult 1918 The Higher Learning in America: A Memorandum on the Conduct of Universities by Business Men Very apropos (and biting) today, with university boards of trustees consisting almost entirely of captains of industry.
John W. White and Patrick R. Lowenthal, "The Cyclical Rhetoric of Educational Reform and the Rationalization of a Failed Zeitgeist;
in eJournal of Educational Policy. White remarks elsewhere
that the move to make education a private business is worth trillions
"Introduction: The Current Educational Reform Movement--History, Progress to Date, and the Future." by Fred Lunenberg )
found in Education and Urban Society, vol. 25 (1992) #1, pp. 3-17 in the HSU library,
LC 5101 .E38
(ordered through Interlibrary Loan:
EFFORTS TOWARD EDUCATIONAL REFORM IN THE UNITED STATES SINCE 1958 : A Review of Seven Major Initiatives"
American Education History Journal [1535-0584] Kessinger, Thomas yr:2011 vol:38 iss:1/2 pg:263 -276
- Myra Suzanne Franco, encyclopedia article on history of accountability ("Accountability Era") in Encyclopedia of Educational Reform and Dissent, ed. Thomas C. Hunt, James C. Carper, Thomas J. Lasley II, C. Daniel Raisch, (SAGE, 2010) vol 1, pp. 9-14.
I've requested the library to order this. It is expected to be available as a digital reference by around the first of March, per the Humanities Librarian.
On curriculum reforms 1830 to present
This site (slideshare.net) has several other presentations of various kinds regarding history of American education.
Objectives: Students will learn a range of works by educational reformers and critics, and will be able to describe and
critique their arguments and clarify the issues addressed by those writers. (Is that pathetic or what?) The Philosophy Department's announced major assessment goals / objectives are as follows (Some courses are to involve measuring other objectives as part of their role in General Education):
1. Students will learn to define concepts and use traditional vocabulary of philosophy.
2. Students will increase their abilities to use the logical methods of analysis and to critically assess philosophical arguments.
3. Students will learn to apply methods of philosophy to specific issues and problems.
4. Students will increase their abilities to read and analyze philosophical writing.
For this semester, the objective we will track is number 4. Since all the essay assignments will in fact result in evidence for this objective, there will not need to be any separately targeted assignments.
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