Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Teaching and Educational Practice

Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in Teaching and Educational Practice

by Dennis Evans

Paperback(Older Edition)


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780072917215
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Companies, The
Publication date: 08/13/2004
Series: Taking Sides Series
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 332
Product dimensions: 6.80(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.79(d)

Table of Contents

PART 1. Teaching and Classroom Practices

ISSUE 1. Is Homework Harmful to Students?

YES: Etta Kralovec and John Buell, from “End Homework Now,” Educational Leadership (April 2001)

NO: Tom Loveless, from “Do Students Have Too Much Homework?” Brookings Institution Press (2003)

Etta Kralovec, vice president for Learning at Training and Development Corporation, and John Buell, a freelance journalist, present three "myths" supporting homework that they claim insulates that traditional practice from careful study and criticism. Tom Loveless, director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at the Brookings Institution, suggests that there is not much substance to the anti-homework position.

ISSUE 2. Does the Practice of Grading Students Serve Useful Purposes?

YES: Robert J. Marzano, from Transforming Classroom Grading (McREL Institute, 2000)

NO: Alfie Kohn, from “From Grading to De-Grading,” The High School Magazine (March 1999)

Robert J. Marzano, a senior fellow at Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL), argues that grading is useful for feedback purposes, which in turn enhances student learning. Alfie Kohn, author and educational commentator, takes the position that grades reduce students' interest in learning, their willingness to choose challenging work, and the quality of their thinking.

ISSUE 3. Do Classroom "Discipline Programs" Contribute to Ethical Behavior?

YES: Lee Canter, from “Assertive Discipline: More Than Names on the Board and Marbles in a Jar,” Phi Delta Kappan (September 1989)

NO: JohnF. Covaleskie, from “Discipline and Morality: Beyond Rules and Consequences,” The Educational Forum (Winter 1992)

Lee Canter, developer of the "Assertive Discipline" program for classroom management, posits that students learn valuable lessons from this structured approach. John Covaleskie, assistant professor at Northern Michigan University, argues that the behaviorist re-enforcement model does nothing to promote ethical character.

ISSUE 4. Are "Abstinence Only" Programs the Best Approach to Sex Education Instruction?

YES: Robert E. Rector, from “The Effectiveness of Abstinence Education Programs in Reducing Sexual Activity,” Paper of the Heritage Foundation (April 2002)

NO: National Coalition Against Censorship, from “Campaign Against Abstinance-Only Education,” Paper Against Abstinence Only Education (June 2001)

Robert E. Rector, a research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, argues that abstinence education helps young people to develop the "foundations of healthy marital life" that will serve them well as adults. The National Coalition Against Censorship argues that abstinence-only programs represent censorship and endanger young people by withholding important sex education information.

ISSUE 5. Is "Whole Language" a Legitimate Approach to Literacy Education?

YES: Constance Weaver, from “On Myths About Whole Language Education,” in C. Weaver, et al., Creating Support for Effective Literacy Education (Heinemann, 1996)

NO: Louisa Cook Moats, from “Whole Language Lives On: The Illusion of ‘Balanced Reading' Instruction,” Paper of the Fordham Foundation (October 2000)

Constance Weaver, a professor of English at Western Michigan University, defends whole language by addressing what she labels as "myths about the approach." Louisa Cook Moats, project director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Early Interventions Project, states that whole-language ideas are contradicted by scientific studies and need to be confronted.

ISSUE 6. Can Web-Based Learning Transform the Classroom?

YES: Gwen Solomon and Lynne Schrum, from “Much to Gain, and Many Barriers,” Education Week (May 29, 2002)

NO: Alan Warhaftig, from “But the Prom Will Not Be Webcast,” Education (May 29, 2002)

Gwen Solomon, a former analyst for the U.S. Department of Education and Lynne Schrum, an associate professor of instructional technology at the University of Georgia,argue that teachers who guide their students to learn with Web resources prepare them for lifelong learning. Alan Warhaftig, a national board-certified high school English teacher believes that "educators' current fascination with technology" is an attempt to find "a magic bullet to cure education's woes."

ISSUE 7. Is the Traditional Approach to American History Too Exclusionary?

YES: Gary B. Nash, from “The History Wars of the 1990s,” Lecture in History at East Carolina University (November 1996)

NO: Walter A. McDougall, from “First Fruits of Those History Standards,” Foreign Policy Research Institute (April 1997)

Gary B. Nash, professor of history at UCLA and director of the National Center for History in the Schools, states that to "invoke historical revisionism as form of foul play serves democracy poorly," Walter A. McDougall, a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania, suggests that revisionist history is a function of political correctness.

ISSUE 8. Should the Study of Literature Focus on the Classics?

YES: Carol Jago, from With Rigor for All: Teaching the Classics to Contemporary Students (Calendar Islands Publishers, 2000)

NO: Donald R. Gallo, from “How Classics Create an Aliterate Society,” English Journal (January 2001)

Carol Jago, a high school English teacher and director of the California Reading and Literature project at UCLA, states that "[A] critical reading of classical literature results in a deep literacy that I believe is an essential skill for anyone who wants to attempt to make sense of the world." Daniel R. Gallo, a former professor of English who writes and edits books for teachers and teenagers, posits that "we are a nation that teaches its children how to read in the early grades, then forces them during their teenage years to read literary works that most of them dislike so much that they have no desire whatsoever to continue those experiences into adulthood."

ISSUE 9. Are Single-Sex Classrooms Better for Students?

YES: Leonard Sax, from “What's the Evidence? What Have Researchers Found When They Compare Single-Sex Education with Coeducation?,” National Association for Single Sex Public Education (February 2003)

NO: Wendy Kaminer, from “The Trouble with Single-Sex Schools,” The Atlantic Monthly (April 1998)

Leonard Sax, MD, PHd, author of Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Gender Differences (Doubleday, 2005) and founder and executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Single-Sex Public Education, argues that students in single-sex schools not only do better academically, but they also have more positive attitudes about education. Wendy Kaminer, senior correspondent for American Prospect and contributing editor for Atlantic Monthly, contends that single-sex schools "reinforce regressive notions of sex differences."

ISSUE 10. Should Classroom Instruction Focus on Preparation for the Workplace?

YES: New Hampshire Department of Education, from “Practices in Work-Based Learning,” School to Work (1998)

NO: John I. Goodlad, from “Education and Democracy: Advancing the Agenda,” Phi Delta Kappan (September 2000)

New Hampshire's School to Work Initiative states that its goal is to prepare all students with the skills, abilities, and knowledge necessary to make good career choices and thereby enhance the state's economic strength. John I. Goodlad, co-director of the Center of Educational Renewal at the University of Washington, cautions that "to make the dozen of more years of schooling instrumental to the future needs of the workplace, however carefully predicted, is immoral and dangerous."

PART 2. School and Educational Practices

ISSUE 11. Should All Students Follow a Common Curriculum?

YES: Robert M. Hutchins, from The Conflict in Education in a Democratic Society (Harper & Row, 1953)

NO: Theodore R. Sizer, from “No Two Are Quite Alike,” Educational Leadership (September 1999)

Robert M. Hutchins, former chancellor at the University of Chicago and a proponent of the Great Books curriculum, argues for a liberal education and states, "If all men are to be free, all men must have this education." Theodore R. Sizer, University Professor Emeritus at Brown University and Chairman of the Coalition of Essential Schools, states, "What, in particular, one studies is less important than that it sparks legitimate interest in each learner."

ISSUE 12. Is Achievement Level Tracking of Students a Defensible Practice?

YES: Tom Loveless, from “The Tracking and Ability Grouping Debate,” Fordham Report (August 1998)

NO: Jeannie S. Oakes, from “Limiting Students' School Success and Life Chances: The Impact of Tracking,” In Allan C. Ornstein and Linda S. Behar-Horenstein, eds. Contemporary Issues in Curriculum (Allyn and Bacon, 1999)

Tom Loveless, senior fellow, government studies, and director of the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings Institution, suggests that many of the charges against tracking are more political than educational and are not supported by research. Jeannie S. Oakes, professor in the Graduate School of Education at UCLA, indicts the results of tracking, especially its damaging impact on the education of minority students.

ISSUE 13. Is Block Scheduling Better Than Traditional Scheduling?

YES: Joseph M. Carroll, from “Block Scheduling,” The School Administrator Magazine (March 1994)

NO: Reginald D. Wild, from Science Achievement and Block Schedules, Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (April 20, 1998)

Joseph M. Carroll, a former school superintendent and a senior associate at Copernican Associates, contends that the traditional ("Carnegie unit") high school schedule is a system under which teachers can't teach effectively and students can't learn effectively. Reginald D. Wild, a professor in the Department of Curriculum Studies at the University of British Columbia, asserts that all-year students outperform semester/block students in science and mathematics.

ISSUE 14. Is Grade Inflation a Problem?

YES: Gregory Stanley and Lawrence Baines, from “No More Shopping for Grades at B-Mart: Re-Establishing Grades as Indicators of Academic Performance,” The Clearing House (March/April 2001)

NO: Alfie Kohn, from “The Dangerous Myth of Grade Inflation,” Chronicle of Higher Education (November 2002)

Gregory Stanley, history teacher at Calhoun High School in Calhoun, Georgia, and Lawrence Baines, professor of education at Berry College, Mt. Berry, Georgia, believe that too many educators subscribe to the mantra of "praise first, examine quality of work later." Alfie Kohn, author and educational commentator, avers that there are no data to support the claims regarding the existence of grade inflation.

ISSUE 15. Are School Uniforms Beneficial?

YES: U.S. Department of Education, from Manual on School Uniforms (February 1996)

NO: David L. Brunsma and Kerry A. Rockquemore, from “Effects of Student Uniforms on Attendance, Behavior Problems, Substance Abuse, and Academic Achievement,” Journal of Educational Research (September/October 1998)

The U.S. Department of Education endorses school uniform policies and presents suggestions for implementation and examples of successful programs. David L. Brunsma and Kerry A. Rockquemore, professors at the University of Alabama and Boston College, respectively, report the results of their research that caused them to reject the idea that school uniforms improved student performance in areas such as attendance, academic achievement, behavioral issues, and substance abuse.

ISSUE 16. Is Drug Testing of Students a Justifiable Practice?

YES: Justice Clarence Thomas, from the majority opinion in “Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County, et al., Petitioners v. Lindsay Earls et al.,” Supreme Court of the United States (June 2002)

NO: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, from the dissenting opinion in “Board of Education of Independent School District No. 92 of Pottawatomie County, et al., Petitioners v. Lindsay Earls et al.,” Supreme Court of the United States (June 2002)

Justice Clarence Thomas presents the legal justification for a urinalysis drug test and states, "Given the minimally intrusive nature of the sample collection and the limited uses to which the test results are put, we conclude that the invasion of students' privacy in not significant." Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, in opposing the majority position, states "schools' tutelary obligations to their students require them to ‘teach by example' by avoiding symbolic measures that diminish constitutional protections."

ISSUE 17. Should Religious Content and Concepts Be More Evident in Public Schools?

YES: Michael W. McConnell, from “Testimony before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Committee on the Judiciary” (June 8, 1995)

NO: Annie Laurie Gaylor, from “The Case Against School Prayer,” A Brochure of the Freedom from Religion Foundation (1995)

Michael W. McConnell, a judge on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and a professor in the School of Law at the University of Utah, argues that many parents have come to believe that the First Amendment is "stacked against them" with respect to their desire to see more religion in the schools. Annie Laurie Gaylor, editor of Freethought Today, states that public schools exist to educate, not to proselytize.

ISSUE 18. Should Teacher Pay Be Tied to Student Performance?

YES: Lewis C. Solmon and Michael Podgursky, from “The Pros and Cons of Performance-Based Compensation,” Paper of the Milken Family Foundation (June 27, 2000)

NO: Wellford W. Wilms and Richard R. Chapleau, from “The Illusion of Paying Teachers for Student Performance,” Education Week (June 2, 1997)

Lewis C. Solmon, senior vice president of the Milken Family Foundation, and Michael Podgursky, professor of economics at the University of Missouri-Columbia, state that new compensation methods are not only feasible, but necessary, in order to attract the best and the brightest into the teaching profession, keep the most effective of these in teaching, and motivate all teachers. Wellford W. Wilms, professor of education at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Richard Chapleau, 1995 winner of the California Milken Teacher of the Year award, posit that shifting the focus of education from the student to the pocketbook erodes teachers' professional judgment and demeans the process of education.

ISSUE 19. Should Service Learning Be Required?

YES: Sheldon Berman, from “Integrating Community Service Learning with School Culture,” Service Learning Network (Spring 1999)

NO: Chester E. Finn, Jr., and Gregg Vanourek, from “Charity Begins at School,” (April 9 2001)

Sheldon Berman, superintendent of schools in Hudson, Massachusetts, posits that both the academic content of the school curriculum and the ethics of young people can be positively impacted by student engagement in community service learning. Educational and social commentators Chester Finn and Gregg Vanourek argue that "service learning," a euphemism for mandatory volunteerism, is not only an oxymoron but also fosters a left-of-center approach to political activism.

ISSUE 20. Is Home Schooling a Good Idea?

YES: Thomas W. Washburne, from “The Boundaries of Parental Authority: A Response to Rob Reich of Stanford University,” Paper of the National Center for Home Education (April 22, 2002)

NO: Rob Reich, from “The Civic Perils of Homeschooling,” Educational Leadership (April 2002)

Thomas W. Washburne, Esq., director of the National Center for Home Education, suggests that as the home schooling movement continues to grow, the educational establishment will become increasingly troubled. Rob Reich, assistant professor at Stanford University, states that students should encounter materials, ideas, and people that they or their parents have not chosen or selected in advance.

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