Foundations and Assessment of Education/Edition 1/Foundations Table of Contents/Chapter 2/In the News

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In The News:Philosophy of Education

By Derrick Long


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A philosophy of education refers to a methodology behind teaching practices. These range from classical “preconceived methods” to newer more experimental thoughts about teaching. Teaching is one of the oldest and most powerful professions known to man. Throughout time we have sought to improve methods of teaching in order to improve the quality of our population. One of the guiding forces in education are teaching philosophies. As ways of thinking about education change and evolve so does the practice and profession of teaching.

Learning Target

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Readers of this section should gain a sense of the current state of educational philosophy and its importance to the teaching profession.

US:The Business of Higher Education

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This article is particularly poignant considering the nature of this “text-book”, it concerns the new business models being brought to Universities throughout the country. With the economic crash and the uncertainty and underfunding that it brings with it colleges and universities have begun adapting a more capitalist approach. One such example is Colorado State University, who elected Joe Blake as its system counselor, not on academic merit but rather on his business prowess. (2009, McGettigan)

“Search committee members were chosen for their knowledge and understanding of complex, billion dollar businesses.” Said, Michelle McKinney, a public relations representative for the board of Colorado State.(2009,Mcgettigan)

As colleges grow more geared towards profit margins and capital gains the problem is further compounded by reduced public funding and rising education costs. These fiscal burdens are now being passed onto individual students, leaving many students in “home mortgage sized debt”.(2009,Mcgettigan)

In today’s modern world a college degree is in increasing demand but the ability to obtain one grows more and more difficult. Could this emphasis on finance be a novel approach to these growing problems or will turning education into a for-profit venture only exasperate the situation?

[1] The Full Article

Spitting in the Eye of Mainstream Education

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This article concerns a California charter school called, American Indian. (Charter schools are schools which are publicly funded, but are allowed to work outside the constraints of the public school system) American Indian is a school that represents the “Essentialist” philosophy of education in the extreme. The curriculum is strict, the levels of liberal bashing almost caricature, and the discipline is as severe as it can get without having nuns involved. Their educational philosophy “does not preach or subscribe to the demagoguery of tolerance.”(Lansberg, 2009)

The results ,however, are amazing and the “American Indian” schools have some of the best test scores in California. In American Indian there are no non-essential courses, the arts in general are scoffed at, and testing, not practical application is the emphasis. There are no T.V’s or computers. All learning is done strictly by the book. To go with this rather utilitarian approach to learning the school has equally strict punishments for misconduct. Humiliation is often used as an enforcement tool. On one occasion a student caught stealing had his head shaved in front of the entire school, in another a young lady was forced to clean the boy's restroom. (Lansberg,2009)

The article goes on to explain the possibility of cherry-picking being used to artificially inflate the school’s test scores. (Cherry-picking in this situation would be seeking out successful students for the school and denying “trouble” cases) However, no definitive proof is offered either way in the article and in lieu of actual proof of “cherry-picking” American Indian’s draconian education philosophy seems to be paying off. As of the date of the article's publication American Indian remains one of the few highly effective schools within inner city neighborhoods by utilizing this unique teaching methodology. (Lansberg,2009)

[2] The Full Article

Students Benefit From Writing Project

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This article is about the education of educators. It describes a writing program offered at the graduate level during the summer section at MSU University.(Johnson, 2008) The writing program is specifically tailored to help teachers formulate and refine their philosophies of education. Throughout the semester participating teachers engage in a variety of “cutting edge“learning techniques including acting out parts of plays, writing creatively, and staging murder mysteries.

"The Northern Plains Writing Project gathers teachers from across the state," said Robert Kibler, associate professor of English and director of the writing project, in a press release. "Together, we engage in dialogue concerning what we do in the classroom, about our educational philosophies, and about the challenges we face as professionals in an ever-changing profession. We engage in cutting edge research so that we can improve upon what we already do well in the classroom, and so that we can better share what we do well with others.” (Johnson, 2008)

The program is free, relatively intense and its main goal is to help teachers by exploring why they teach, hopefully leading to better teachers. The program is tailored to help teachers find new meaning within their careers and bring that new knowledge and invigoration back to the classroom. By exploring new areas of creativity, hands on learning, and teaching as a community the graduate level program helps its participants update their views on traditional education.

[3] The Full Article


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Right now, this moment, education is changing, evolving. Someone out there in the nether is contemplating a new way to teach. In our state of Virginia many are still reconciling their teaching methods with the importance of the S.O.L’s, or standards of learning, the S.O.L’s are standardized tests used as a yard stick to measure whether or not students are prepared to move on to the next grade level. These tests have changed the curriculum for everyone and helped define what can be seen as success within the classroom. They represent a teaching ideology that places importance upon testing well. The introduction of these tests and their effect on teaching philosophies throughout Virginia illustrate the vast and important changes that occur within the teaching profession.

Many new ideas are being explored to make education more effective. In large states with an urban population charter schools are being created in order to utilize more radical teaching methods in the hopes of raising the test scores of underprivileged, minority students. Across the country, colleges and universities are looking for ways to make education profitable by hiring new staff, consulting marketing teams, and merchandising themselves in the same way successful corporations do. Our definition of education and our ideologies surrounding it are fluid, ever changing things.


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1. Charlie’s Middle School is funded publicly but is not subjected to the limitations of Public Schools. What kind of school does Charlie attend?

A)Charter School

B)Private School

C)Super School

D)Public School

2. Universities under the “economic crunch” are adopting what kind of strategy?

A) Military strategy

B) Business strategy

C) Liberal strategy

D) Risk Strategy

3. If a teacher were to attend the MSU graduate program over the summer, he/she would be mainly seeking to explore and expand upon his/her _____.

A) Educational Philosophy

B) Writing Style

C) Educational Philanthropy

D) Taco Recipes

4. Every year there are new educational programs and policies. Often these programs are inspired by a change in ________.



C)Educational Philosophy

D)Educational Theory

Key: A, B, A, C


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JOHNSON, A. (n.d.). Students benefiting from writing project institute - | News, sports, business, jobs - Minot Daily News. Retrieved June 8, 2009, from

Landsburg, M. (n.d.). Spitting in the eye of mainstream education - Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 8, 2009, from,0,7064053.story?page=2

Mcgettigan, T. (n.d.). University World News - US: The business of higher education. Retrieved June 8, 2009, from

Standards of Learning. (n.d.). Retrieved June 8, 2009, from

country. (n.d.). Education - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved June 8, 2009, from

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