Discussion: Discussants Reflect

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posted by: George Hein on May 21, 2003 at 10:29AM
subject: The importance of equity
Dear Gail,

Thanks for your response. Yes, I agree with all three of your points.
1) "Inquiry science is a wonderful way to include more students in the
learning."
2) "It is challenging to make [equity] explicit and unless we do this,
it may not be obvious to all those with whom we work."
3) "When our systems get too focused on the goal of high stakes
testing... I have noted a tendency to "hunker down" and mandate MORE of
the same for the students who are labeled underachieving."

Itís precisely because the activities that we value get pushed
asideóand frequently labeled "idealistic," "impractical," (or even)
"radical"ó that we need to constantly restate them and acknowledge
them. Unless we keep reaffirming whatís important it gets
marginalized. Itís easy tog et caught up in the pros and cons of high
stake testing, to debate what percentage of kids are helped or harmed
by this accountability system. But thatís not the point; the point of
education in and for a democratic society is to get everyone to think
and be able to make informed decisions. As you say, all children, and
often especially children who have donít feel confident about their own
ability to reason, can gain experience and skills by focusing on the
behavior of nature, as well as struggling with the more traditional
school subjects. As many psychologists have pointed out, success in
one subject can help students progress in others. So there are strong
reasons to stress the potential power of inquiry science (and math) to
both learn science and to succeed in school.
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