Oh come all ye verbivores

duluthinbloomz4March 28, 2012

I saw this on one of the MSNBC programs and got to thinking... do words (particularly any on this list) in and of themselves harm or corrupt or rob anyone of their ethics?

What do we have if we don't have words?

Here is a link that might be useful: Words going the way of the dinosaur

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I didn't get very far. I got to abuse. If you ban the word abuse, won't it hinder open dialogue? But isn't open dialogue what is needed to get light to the situation? Don't mind me, I'm just supposing. A what-if, if you will.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 12:05PM
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It's dumb dumbdumb!!!

And yet, I sort of see what they mean....how certain words can disturb without meaning to.

I get a bit riled up when I come across something about "women" meaning "some women" or "many women" and the whole item says "women" as if it means ALL women.

Would such a question affect my answer? Maybe, maybe not. But I have always objected to ALL women being painted with the same paint brush as SOME women. Therefore, I can see the objection to many of the other classifications.

But I think they have gone tooooo far on this.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 12:22PM
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Banning words is easier than teaching what they mean.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 12:59PM
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If everything that offended anyone that is a member of the human race were removed from the planet, the planet would not even exist, including everything that was a part of it.

The solution is very simple: if the shoe doesn't fit, you ain't Cinderella. Quit trying to make it fit! If you are not mentioned in a personal way, or the words do not apply to you, then the words are not meant for you.

In other words, if a word offends thee, do not use it or read it. Bypass it. Ignore it. Pretend it does not exist within the realm of your vocabulary.

This country just gets more and more ridiculous as the days pass.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 1:02PM
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This is just nuts!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 1:12PM
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Good one chase. I saw a kid on a little bike this morning, the bike had stabilizing wheels and a bar for the nervous mother to cling to the kid had on a helmet knee pads and elbow pads. If when he goes to school he is shielded in the same way from unpleasant words he will be ripe for a cover of Conservative Teen but reality might be a shock.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 1:18PM
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Thanks for posting, Duluth. I heard something about this yesterday. What an outrageous waste of time and money!

Seems to me that banning every day words is far more damaging to the intellectual AND emotional development of children than the supposed "discomfort" caused by seeing or reading them on a test. Will children not be expected to know what those words mean and how to spell them correctly? Will they not be expected to be able to use these words in a sentence? Will reading assignments/books/discussions that employ these words be banned???

Here's the list from your article:

Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological)
Alcohol (beer and liquor), tobacco, or drugs
Birthday celebrations (and birthdays)
Bodily functions
Cancer (and other diseases)
Catastrophes/disasters (tsunamis and hurricanes)
Children dealing with serious issues
Cigarettes (and other smoking paraphernalia)
Computers in the home (acceptable in a school or library setting)
Death and disease
Expensive gifts, vacations, and prizes
Gambling involving money
Homes with swimming pools
Junk food
In-depth discussions of sports that require prior knowledge
Loss of employment
Nuclear weapons
Occult topics (i.e. fortune-telling)
Rap Music
Religious holidays and festivals (including but not limited to Christmas, Yom Kippur, and Ramadan)
Rock-and-Roll music
Running away
Television and video games (excessive use)
Traumatic material (including material that may be particularly upsetting such as animal shelters)
Vermin (rats and roaches)
War and bloodshed
Weapons (guns, knives, etc.)
Witchcraft, sorcery, etc.

Sounds like the Ebonics crowd is back with a new way of depriving disadvantaged students of the meaningful education every child needs and deserves.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 1:32PM
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It's not really a ban (the way it has been reported). The NY Dept of Education is just not going to use these words on standardized tests. There are lots of other words out there to form questions with. I totally understand what they are up to. It's an attempt to be respectful to all test takers and it will harm no one.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 2:04PM
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Yes, just think if the time and money spent on making up this list could be spent on something better.

One of our problems now is that people in general, have no idea how others live out their lives. They can be rich or poor, heathen or religious, black, white or asian, they just don't know. How will they learn if they don't learn in school?

Yeah, I know...the parents will teach them. Parents always know about everything.

(for those that may not understand, that last remark was very tongue-in-cheek)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 2:04PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Ridiculous!!!! Why don't we just put kids in a sound proof bubble for 18 years feed them, educate them from a special recording and stick a pin in the bubble and let them out at the age of 19.

With all the child proofing, doing everything under the sun to spare children's feelings these days I am surprised we ever survived to adulthood to have children. Why are we still alive to see this crazy stuff.

The bully thing drives me crazy. Kid cannot be teased, Kids cannot take getting a failing grade so they want to do away with telling them they are failing because it will hurt little J's feelings.

I am sick of seeing plants are poison do not have them around your children. I did not give birth to a cow she never grazed on my plants. I cannot open my new washing machine after I press start because they now have child proofed it so the kids cannot climb in and spin the brains they do not have anymore.

If we had parents the kids would not get in washing machines, eat plants, get hurt, have enough confidence that if they are teased they will not try to kill themselves.

I was over weight as a kid and they teased the crap out of me but I never thought I was anything but pretty because my Mom and Dad made me feel special everyday before I stepped out the door to go to school.

Okay my rant is over.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 2:09PM
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I don't think I agree jerzee. I don't see how not using words for something in someone's life is like admitting it doesn't exist. So they will use it other places and in other things? What other things? I hadn't heard that. Not that I don't believe you, I just heard they were banning. Actually, I think I heard dinosaur was being banned, and it's not on the list. Please fill in the missing info!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 2:11PM
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Today we shall be talking about the history of the United States of America: 1776 - some stuff happened although I am not allowed to tell you what or why but if you are interested have a look the words in Nikoleta's post for a brief run down. On Wednesday we shall do the old testament a synopsis of which can be found at the same source, likewise Thursdays lesson on politics.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 2:25PM
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Rob, you have to read the link... some text exists as a preamble to the list.

"The word "dinosaur" made the hit list because dinosaurs suggest evolution which creationists might not like. "Halloween" is targeted because it suggests paganism; a "birthday" might not be happy to all because it isn't celebrated by Jehovah's Witnesses. ..."

Context is everything - where would these show up on a standardized test? Multiple choice/closest to situations? IE - pick the word closest to "junk food"
A). Big Mac
B). Granola Bar
C). Broccoli

Glad I'm older and did all my test taking before the dictionary evolved (oh jeez) grew to the hurtful/hateful word-filled tome of today. An innocuous Happy birthday greeting - suddenly they're words like a blunt instrument with all the subtlety of a flying ball peen hammer.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 4:06PM
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I don't see canned peas on that list. Don't like them stinkin' canned peas. They hurt my brain. I am deeply offended when confronted with the darn things.

Ridiculous idea. I realize it's not YOUR idea, DIB :)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 4:12PM
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I'm with you!!!

You may or may not remember, I'm one who believes it's all watered down now. Nothing/no one is special. I agree it's gone too far! and I really think it needs to quit. What is that the main character says in As Good as it Gets? I'm drowning and you're describing the water! Yep. Not you. The school system in this case.

I'll give you an example. My son work his rear off to have a spectacular science project. And it was. It placed in his school science fair. He went to the district Science Fair. Isn't that a special accomplishment? You know what he got for going to District? The same exact stinking ribbon that every other kid in the class got. Which really stunk because... doing a science project was a requirement. So EVERYONE got a ribbon. At least this is how he felt about it. And I fully agree. Why should someone get a ribbon for completing a required assingment? What's wrong with this picture?

Since when did it become a sin to be special? Should no one ever make a note of what he did because some other child might feel inferior to it? Then, why, on God's green earth was there a Fair? A competition, last time I checked.

But hey that's me.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 4:14PM
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Rob, in my opinion, you are right, probably because I feel exactly the same way.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 4:20PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

The NY Dept of Education is just not going to use these words on standardized tests.

And it's only a guide to those developing the tests.

I would like to know more about the reasoning behind the list. Is this also an attempt to eliminate bias in the testing?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 4:27PM
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I've been thinking about this some more. If they are allowed to ban words, even if it is just on tests, won't it send signals that it is shameful to be "abused? For instance? I know I keep going back to that word, but it's just my hot button. We need to bring light to those situations and let the kids know they're not alone. That they can be free to talk about it with teachers, educators, and other kids.

Am I right or not?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 5:11PM
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What a ridiculous idea... I would agree that some words should not appear in those contexts -- things like racial slurs or culturally derogatory terms. But those words are very bland indeed.

As if not using the word 'alcohol' can in any way improve the life of a child whose parents are alcoholics! Sure, it would be insensitive to weave a math problem around the time it takes Susie's mother to pass out if she drinks 2 ounces of 130 proof vodka every 30 minutes and weights 150 pounds. But that's not exactly what we're talking about...

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 5:54PM
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I want my grandchildren to be "disturbed" by words they don't understand so they will search out the meaning. I want them to ask questions that scientists will be hard pressed to answer. I want them to be furious when they can't solve a math problem. So mad at all the above that they will seek out and find the answers/solutions.
Isn't that what we are supposed to be about? I don't like self satisfied mushrooms. OK to take a break once in a while, but life is about learning.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 5:54PM
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Nancy, Someone proffered the idea these words assume a baseline for cultural bias. I find it limiting - but concede it might well be true - that there are those who know little more than what is available to them within 50 feet of themselves at any given moment.

It's hard to fathom because forum participants here are educated, traveled, well read, intellectually curious, have multiple interests, and are experienced in myriad ways. "Isn't everyone" ain't necessarily so.

I don't know, rob, but a standardized test (if memory serves) measures retained specific facts and isn't designed to open any dialogue.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 6:00PM
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Exactamondo Steve I totally agree.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 6:01PM
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Seems absurd.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 6:45PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

the idea these words assume a baseline for cultural bias

Thanks, duluth.

I'm sensitive to the issue because of a study I read about a year or so ago. Stanford made the case for bias in a CA state exam of graduating high school seniors. Males were consistently rating higher than females - no matter economic status, race, or ethnicity. And we know that can't possibly be true. :0)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 7:06PM
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Ahhh... sweet reality! In all its beauty AND ugliness!

I do not understand the concept of coddling and shielding, whether we're talking about children OR adults! Life is what it is! Or at the very least, it's what we make it!

I don't want pasty-faced toadstools with no life skills or common sense as offspring! I want my kids to KNOW the world they live in, both its good side AND its bad side! I want them to make mistakes, fall down, pick themselves back up, and learn from those mistakes! I want them prepared to face the REAL world and all its many challenges... not some faux version tinted rose and cleaned up to PG rating!

You know, we never even blocked the pornography channels on our satellite tv or on the computers... we didn't have to. Our kids weren't interested, at all... they were interested in riding bikes, playing Mario Brothers on Nintendo, going hunting with Dad, playing with their dogs, and they all liked school and did well!

We can't clean up the world just because a few things offend the "delicate sensibilities" of a few folks! Get over it, already! If you don't like certain things, don't look, don't buy them, don't read them, don't watch them, and don't worry what the next guy is doing... worry about your own damn self for a change, you know?!!

How are kids to learn good sportsmanship if there's no competition? How will they learn to defend themselves if they never get anywhere near any kind of confrontation? How will they learn to protect themselves or make the right choices if they're not taught all about the great big, and sometimes bad, world we live in?

If we're not going to allow them to experience life, we might as well keep them in locked boxes and feed them pink fluff until they die of intellectual emptiness... good grief!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 7:13PM
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Sweeby, that's so funny tears were running down my cheeks!I'm talking about mom consuming alcohol while the kid is calculating. Sort of the same with calorie counting while watching morbidly obese people eat.

I know, I know, I'm bad, bad, bad. In my opinion, it's hysterical, though.

Seriously, Steve summed up how I do feel.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 7:20PM
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Yes, well - didn't the weaving of slave beatings and down time calculations due to the beatings get a couple of Georgia teachers a one way ticket to being unemployed?

I know where you're coming from with life experiences and allowing children the wonder that comes with trials and errors and successes which all blend together in rounding out a personality.

I have to laugh now, but I found out about electricity the hard way. We had an old Maytag ringer washer and a little box Philco with a fabric cord nearby on a shelf. I somehow touched the cord with the wet ringer stick and got zapped. I remember asking Mom, "Am I going to die?" "I don't think so, dear" was the reply. No drama. I was satisfied with that, but I learned something valuable.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 8:06PM
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I'm getting into trouble with my grandchildren just like I did with my kids: I was showing my 10 year old grandson my "antique" slide rule after racquetball the other day. He was fascinated. The girls are getting bored with common math and I think it's time to introduce them to Geometry and Trig. At the Apple Festival last year, we were watching "hit and miss" engines and I was explaining "torque". Can't drive in a screw without explaining the physics of the inclined plane. They are hungry for knowledge and school is too slow!
I think schools retard our kids rather than advancing them but I also know that I'm not well rounded enough to home school them.
It's a quandary for me.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 8:56PM
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I think you've got a good point, Steve. We all learned to read when we were 3 or 4. I think they start in Kindergarten or 1st now.

Although there are bound to be some poor teachers in the schools, it does seem to me that some of the responsibility for teaching lies with the parents. And the discipline? Don't get me started, LOL!

    Bookmark   March 28, 2012 at 9:19PM
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I never said it opened any dialogues. I'm saying schools should keep every channel open.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 8:35AM
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I would agree, Steve, and I would add that it's not by mistake our children are fed an incomplete educational diet through schooling, but more by design.

I openly admit that I didn't do well enough in certain subjects to home school, but I think my husband would have been a very good teacher, and was an exceptional Dad. He still is.

We did get lucky in the public schools our children attended, though. More rural, with smaller classes and dedicated teachers, a principal that went out of her way to ensure the best, and ensure the children that needed extra assistance got it. In fact, as our children graduated from middle to high school, she also went from the middle to the high school as principal... so she was already familiar with most of the kids and their families. I think that helped a lot.

As parents, we've always felt that too many adults actually hold their children back, perhaps without even realizing it, through their own fears and inadequacies. From infants and toddlers, children are naturally curious and possess an almost unending thirst for knowledge and experience, each individual child ready for different learning and experiences at slightly different times.

Rather than always saying no, we allowed a lot of exploration and supervised teaching that other adults were a bit shocked at, but we think it has had a wonderful impact on the well-rounding of our children, who are now all capable adults fully able to cope with the realities of life.

I don't think it's fair or right to sugarcoat life, or to withhold needed information. I would much rather keep open lines of honest communication so children can get the real story, the actual facts, whether bad or good. This gives them the ammunition to make the choices in life that are best suited to them as individuals.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 9:39AM
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You and I sound like we have VERY similar parenting styles. My mom would want to pick up every knick-knack in her house when we'd come over when my son was very small. I had to repeatedly ask her to leave them where they were and I would take the responsibilty/consequences for what happened. I could say no, very easily and he'd listen well. Or he'd be out on sissy's fence, headed for the top fo the tree, and mom would have a heart-attack! I'd say, it's ok, I've taught him how to climb. He's still a good climber. He rocks climbs in gyms and not much longer for now, bro will take him out in real life to climb real rocks.

I also have made a concerted effort to explain and educate touchy subjects in a way that is without prejudice. That is, that all things, be it parenting, politics, religion, etc. have more than one side, and even if you don't like the others side of the one you're one or disagree with it, doesn't make the other side's wants, opinions, values, any worse. Their points are also valid. When I just absolutely could not be objective in something someone else was doing/saying, I'd say, "I'm sorry honey, I just feel too strongly, but that doesn't mean I'm right. You'll have to decide for yourself."

The answer isn't blinders, it's information, information, information!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 9:50AM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Jodik, that is the key to the problem. We do not have parents anymore.

They want TV, Internet, Schools, Society as a whole to be the parents. They want to talk on their cell phones, text or anything else their hearts desire and have no contact with their children so therefore everything they come in contact with is safe and causes no harm because the parents do not want hands on guidance, explanations of why something happened or anything else that may cause them to have be involved.

I was at a restaurant and saw a 3 year old saying Mommy, Mommy she was on the phone and would look over and say something to the male at the table maybe her husband, boyfriend, brother. But never answered the child that kept calling for attention. His hamburger had fallen out of the bun and he did not know how to put it back together or make it so he could eat his lunch. I got so upset I got up and went over and cut it for him. It amazed me she never stopped talking on the phone or even told me to get away from her child.

Who does that???.....Parents that are not parents. Society is suppose to raise their children. Not them.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 9:54AM
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OOOOH I do remember standing before first grade class and speaking about gathering eating pissclams in Rockaway.
The nun didn't bat an eye at it but some of the kids were amused.
My mother & father were told you can put him in front of the class & he can speak for the longest time about things he's seen & what they are all about. He has a very extensive & sometimes colorful, vocabulary.
I love words & playing with words, I was truly grateful when I first encountered Joyce, Stein & Eliot.
I find it unfortunate that vocabulary isn't, supported buttressed in our schools.
Summer rainy day projects as a child. "There is the Encyclopedia start with any letter you like but I have stuff to do & your not watching television till at least 5 O'Clock."

That list is one of the most ridiculous things I ever read outside of this forum!
(see I even used the spell check)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 9:56AM
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Mar 28, 12 at 12:05 - "I didn't get very far. I got to abuse. If you ban the word abuse, won't it hinder open dialogue..."

Mar 28, 12 at 17:11..."That they can be free to talk about it with teachers, educators, and other kids."

I thought perhaps you were, but going back and forth with who said what when, as so often happens in so many threads, is not my style.

My original pondering was if words in and of themselves are harmful. As regards to the NYC Bd. of Ed., better use of their time could be made in simply educating children. And I go back to the idea of cultural bias - in the lowest common denominator, it's as if a child in NYC be exempt from knowing about California.

The straight forward definition of a "word" is a sound or a combination of sounds, or its representation in writing or printing, that symbolizes and communicates a meaning and may consist of a single morpheme or of a combination of morphemes.

Though a word or words may have an unpleasant association for any given person, striking them diminishes. But playing the glad game - do you remember any of the questions in any of the testing you endured through your school years? This is an adult exercise under the guise of "but it's for the children" - a sixth grade Field Day where everyone gets a ribbon.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 10:26AM
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The emphasis on the word 'abuse' is interesting because the deed came before the word and a lot of children who were abused only discovered what was really going on when this word became so popular and there was much talk around it. Perhaps the aim is to go back to euphemisms for the unpleasant words "Daddies going to tickle you".

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 10:45AM
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hindering isn't the same as opening??? But why nit pick? Or are you saying I am wavering from my opening statement? Or were you apologizing for misunderstanding? I don't get it. If I didn't know better, I'd say you were against anything I said.

I don't recall enduring testing. I recall doing well and not giving a flip. Ever. But that's my forte. Not everyone has it. I can also talk in front of large crowds well. Does that make me a saint? Doubt it. Oh, I suffered in my childhood, not from words on a piece of paper (and it didn't make me flinch if I saw war (there was one going on that my father was away participating in. Career officer, so not just one tour of duty) more than a lot of people, but I found that I could rise above it when I opened up to the right people who made me feel safe and not ashamed.

When I was in school, on Field Day you got a ribbon for an event you won. Luckily, everyone did go home with a ribbon, not for participating, for winning. Is that what you endorse? Every child all the time? So a child excels at something, he's not to be noticed or recognized differently? Really? Because that's what happened. And if had been Silversword's child (who is also fairly young, about the same age is my little fella), I would've been just as pissed. It's wrong to say everyone is the same. Everyone is not the same. He deserved more. Now, if it was a writing essay and he didn't win it, I'd tell him to work on his writing skills.

I'm not into celebrating mediocrity. I will admire people who trying their hardest. Give their all. Their best. I sure as heck won't delusion a child and tell them they are great when they're not. Effort can be rewarded, but there are limits as to how much and for what. At least, in my opinion.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 10:58AM
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Cultural bias in standardized testing is a very real problem that doesn't get addressed enough, and it can distort test results significantly. I've seen it with my kids, friends and classmates, and it isn't pretty. Some examples:

- My younger son has some developmental disabilities and was undergoing a rigorous round of standardized testing designed to shape his educational plan. Because of his age and issues, I was present during the tests. The tester showed him a picture of a telephone from about 1965 and asked him what that was. Of course, he'd never seen any device that looked remotely like that! Same with a record player! What 5 year old would know those devices from drawings that were so obsolete? (Even the tester had to agree.)

- In the same series of tests, he was asked how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Since he was gluten intolerant, we didn't keep sandwich bread in the house, and he hadn't eaten, much less made, a sandwich since he was a toddler. I explained his dietary restriction and asked the tester if we could substitute a common food item he did eat -- nachos, tacos, popcorn, salad, ramen noodles. Sorry - standardized tests. That test was designed to measure his life skills, and did anything but --

- He was shown a picture of a snow shovel. Of course, since we don't have snow here, he only got partial credit for sating it was a shovel rather than a snow shovel.

- My former sister-in-law was hindered by the 'choose the most similar expression' part of her SATs when they used common phrases like the pot calling the kettle black and out of the frying pan and into the fire -- because these 'common' phrases aren't at all common if the language spoken by your parents at home isn't English!

I have come to really distrust standardized testing.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 11:19AM
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Perhaps a Quaker approach to education encourages excellence without with some competition, where ribbons are best left on packages or presents. Where curiosity is encouraged & intellectual strip mining is absent!

The Quaker "world image" affects other dimensions of educational practice as well, beginning with a fundamental respect for young people's autonomy and integrity as learners. Friends have placed a great emphasis on reason over the authority of tradition. Reflecting on their own experience of persecution at the hands of an established Church, they maintain that first-hand, experiential knowledge, refined by the exercise of judgment and reason, enables people to discern deeper truths than those they passively receive through dogmatic instruction. Like other Quakers, "Penn believed that human nature could only be improved if society respected the liberty of one's conscience," wrote Kashatus. "Only in this way could the individual exercise reason, pursue the search for inward truth and become a constructive member of the larger society" (p. 21).

Significantly, this trust in the individual's ability to discern truth does not arise from some romantic, libertarian belief in personal freedom, but from a profound faith in the power of the Inner Light. Friends often speak of Christ as the Inner Teacher'a voice that contains the wisdom and insight that people need to achieve moral and spiritual maturity. Paul A. Lacey comments that "perhaps in no tradition is this metaphor God is a Teacher more central than in Quakerism, where the very core of the liberating message is, in George Fox's words, that Christ has come to teach his people himself. George Fox invariably describes his ministry as turning people toward the Teacher within them, the Light which has enlightened every person who has ever come into the world" (Lacey, 1988, p. 4).

This divine voice is not heard through the words of others but inwardly through one's own receptive conscience, yet a certain self-discipline is essential to cultivating this receptivity. The Inner Light, according to respected Quaker author Howard Brinton, "can be reached only by centering down, to use an old Quaker phrase: that is, by concentrating our attention on the inward side of life where the soul's windows open toward the Divine." (Brinton, 1953). "Centering down" means turning away from ego-driven pursuits, from selfish individual concerns, and allowing oneself to be moved by a spiritual intelligence greater than one's everyday consciousness. And, though truth cannot be obtained from others, neither is it a "personal possession"; as Lacey and other Friends writers point out, Quaker spirituality involves the gathering of community to "practice discernment" that is, to test the authenticity of what one believes to be a divine leading. "We turn to the Christ within us, but what we find there, if it is true, will be found within others who also turn inward with a willingness to be taught" (Lacey, 1988, pp. 8, 9, 11). Or, as the well known educator and author Parker Palmer has said, "It is part of the genius of Quakerism, I think, that the movement of the spirit is not enclosed as a private matter, but is made manifest in public ways and put to public test. The most important consequence of any meeting is the nurture of community, of recentered and reconnected selves" (Palmer, 1976, p. 6).

Liberty of conscience, then, means freedom for thoughtful, selfless pursuit of truth within a fellowship of seekers, not freedom from all influences outside the individual. This is an important distinction, not only in Quaker practice, but in holistic educational thought generally. Quaker education, like all carefully considered holistic approaches, views the individual within a social and communal context, as well as a transpersonal (spiritual or divine) context, not as an isolated psychological atom. This does not diminish the integrity and even sacredness of the individual's inner life, but it holds the individual accountable to larger realms of meaning (Miller, 2000).

A disciplined conscience comes through the experience of silence. As practiced in Quaker worship, silence is an active effort aimed at "greeting the sacred" and "centering outside the self" (Lacey, 1998, p. 9). The individual strives to put personal wants and preconceptions aside, and to listen carefully for guidance from a deeper source. Silence, as a spiritual and educational practice, is a means of opening one's heart and mind to dimensions of truth and wisdom that lie beyond our current understanding. We need to cultivate the humility and sense of receptivity to acknowledge that Truth is not contained by our presently held ideas, assumptions and understandings; rather, it is continually being revealed in ever greater fullness throughout our lives. "Every moment bears in it the dynamic of new truth, a life-changing insight, a hitherto unexplored perspective often coming through unexpected and unlikely channels," as one Quaker educator has commented (Brown, 1982). This is a truly radical conception of knowledge! It demands of each person that we continually re-examine our beliefs and attitudes in light of new experience. This notion is very similar to John Dewey's attack on the "quest for certainty" that underlies so much of modern Western knowledge, though with a more spiritual conception of the source of experience.

Even further, Friends insistence on spiritual equality erodes social ranks and distinctions, claiming that the Light will appear through any soul that is open to it. This challenges our common assumption, based on vestiges of a long history of authoritarian social control, that teachers, textbooks, and government standards contain the only important elements of learning. Everyone's voice is valuable, because every person's experience represents some measure of Truth, and until we listen, until we afford compassion and respect to dimensions of human experience outside accepted norms, we cannot know what measure this might be. All people, even students and youths, have access to knowing that is deeper than common knowledge if they are prepared to receive it. And we become prepared through silence and the caring support of spiritual fellowship, not professional rank or academic training.

There is carrot & stick education (training)
There is fear based education similar to carrot and stick
(Best in Show Children)
There is that Spartan Social Darwinism Education The Cream will clog the nations arteries with competition for Competitions sake.
I find the Joy of the Journey a little more interesting with out being too "Follow Your Bliss" I usually here that oft Quoted J Campbell line from hedge funders & pseudo intellectuals who take course rather than explore!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 11:25AM
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No, rob, I'm not against anything you've written and I don't think anything I've written warrants an apology to you or anyone. My Field Day reference was in support of the dismay over your child's science fair project ribbon.

I never minded tests; I always tested well. Many don't for a variety of reasons. Sweeby's post nails it.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 12:00PM
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Truly, I didn't think you needed to apologize. I really didn't get what you were talking about. Really!

I too, agree with sweeby (and ink, and labrea).

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 12:21PM
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I don't think it's fair or right to sugarcoat life, or to withhold needed information

I do not believe NY Bd of Education is sugarcoating anything nor are they withholding information. They are just trying to level the playing field for all the kids and I commend them for that.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 12:47PM
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You want to know what burns me the most, Marquest, out of all we talk about that has to do with children and parenting?

Someone like myself, who wanted so desperately to have my own children... to go through the entire process of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, bonding, loving and raising and watching my own flesh and blood come to life and grow... could not have children.

And people who appear to care less can pop them out like machines, one after another, and then treat them as though they don't even exist... like it's just another bothersome part of their life that they've been forced into hauling around with them. No offense to those here who gave birth, just so we're clear.

I do have 3 stepchildren that I love extremely much, and I'd never think about treating them in any way that doesn't make them feel as though they ARE mine... but I missed the very earliest stages of development, and I didn't have the pleasure of carrying them for 9 months.

Sure, I can joke and say I thankfully missed the stinky diaper stage... but in reality, I do miss even that.

I've always told them the same thing my adoptive Mom told me... that I was created IN her heart, not under it... and that's so true... they were all created IN my heart, not under it. I came to love them before they were ever my stepchildren. I don't even call them that... as far as I'm concerned, they are my children.

But I so dislike seeing parents treat their children with such... what's the right word? Indifference?

I couldn't imagine not having a very active role in raising our children.

And on the flip side, there are parents who don't really even want to be parents. It blows my mind! Being a Mom, and now a Grandmother, have been the greatest gifts I've ever been rewarded with!

Case in point... their own mother... or egg donor, as they call her... took off when the going got a little tough, to take care of number one, and abandoned them all, never paid a dime of court ordered child support... except the very first installment so the Judge would let her leave the courtroom... and now she can't figure out why they don't call her on Mother's Day.

Sure, we had tv, and the kids had Nintendo back then... but we never just plunked them down in front of television, inserted a video tape, like it were some sort of babysitter, and walked away. We did everything together, as a family. We never missed a school or sport event, we went everywhere as a unit, and we had so much fun while they were growing up!

It's great to watch my children doing the same things with their children! Reading to them, playing games, taking them to do fun and educational things...

As to Sweeby's post... why wouldn't they update standardized tests to reflect modernized society? Today's world is so different and technological. WE might use the same sayings or recognize older items, but kids of today might have no idea... and it's not their fault. The world evolves...

How unfair to be scored on outdated testing methods and materials. But it does show us that less is being put into our educational system. Something so important is one of the first things placed on the budget chopping block. It's really insane. Education is so very important!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 2:29PM
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marquest(z5 PA)

Jokik you missed the least important part with the stinky diaper part. It is the years, and years after that are the most important.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 9:04PM
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