Going deeper than surface information…

We need to promote a new way forwards for a better future. To promote a better future, none of us should hide away from trying to seek the truth. I have become an untrusting person. But I recognise that many other people, ordinary people, are trying to seek the truth and promote the truth and seeking to find a better way forwards.

During my childhood, there seemed to be such a clearcut line between ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’. Now I see no clear line. I have no confidence in governments of any country. Some governments are clearly cruel and despotic regimes – but other governments which purport to be democratic are increasingly looking as if they are not necessarily working in the interests of their people, or world-wide people. Here in the west, many of us are no longer confident in exactly ‘who’ is running our countries or with what underlying motives.

Someone forwarded me the link of the ‘Yes’ magazine – which led to the site ‘Americans Who Tell The Truth’ http://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/ through which I found this page:

http://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/curriculum/genocide.php

On which it states:

To define:
Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction of an ethnic, racial, religious or national group.
While precise definition varies among genocide scholars, a legal definition is found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Article 2 of this defines genocide as “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
Using that definition, ask students to identify historical events that they feel would qualify as genocide. This can provide an excellent opportunity to use critical thought skills when examining events, allowing students to go deeper than surface information.
Here is the problem:
“…to go deeper than surface information.”
How can we do this? Where can we find this information? Who can we trust of the providers of information?
That is the question.
Do you trust the mainstream media or the world’s politicians – or interpretations of events by commentators?
Which sources of information do you trust?

 

Debbie

Ofsted head calls for local school troubleshooters

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16343221

Local troubleshooters should be appointed to identify failing schools and sack incompetent heads, England’s new chief education inspector has said.

This is a very interesting article. It seems to me, however, that the real issue amounts to creating mechanisms for anyone, including parents and teaching staff, to hold people to account at all levels.

Over and again, I, or others that I know, have had the grounds to call to account the actions, or directives, or practices of one body or another IN AUTHORITY – but we have been thwarted by the capacity of others to:

1. Ignore the issue totally

2. Fail to respond to the letters or emails outlining the issue/complaint

3. Fail to respond to the points outlined in the letter or email – instead writing an overarching response which has not addressed the questions or concerns raised

4. Draw the matter to a close by stating that the matter is at a close

5. Find some form of blackmailing, or blacklisting threat, to intimidate the complainant

6. Gang up with fellows at the same ‘level’ or in the same ‘institution’ to result in the complainant getting nowhere or having the tables turned on them in some form

7. Draw upon endlessly bureaucratic and formal procedures to thwart the complaint or intimidate the complainant

8. Appoint a union representative who is incompetent and who may also be overwhelmed by bureaucratic procedures to address the issues

9. Those in some form of authority, in effect, get the last ‘say’ – they are judge and jury even if the complaint is against them!

Where schools are concerned, I really do understand that there are schools which do not provide a good enough quality education or care, but often the actions suggested to the school (or forced upon the school) can be overly formal and burdensome – perhaps apparently acceptable in theory – but not in practice.

There are different ways to raise standards – but are these always fully considered?

I have been in the ‘special measures’ and ‘fresh start’ level schools and have first hand experience of what it is like to be subject to official initiatives – whether or not they were appropriate to raise standards. Believe me, there is nothing more galling to hard-working staff than when advisors and inspectors step in and undermine the very people who have their sleeves rolled-up! In step those with the highest authority with their formal paperwork and procedures – and their word is unchallengeable – which is not acceptable.

I have much more to say about schools and school practices but will close this blog entry on these two points:

  • Teachers have no real voice – they need proper mechanisms for ‘upwards evaluation’ (holding those to account in authority over them) for all levels of authority – more about this later!
  • Why do politicians and the chief inspector consider that changing a school to an ‘academy’ makes a difference? What’s in a name? What is the real basis for this policy?

Do we really, really know what people in the country believe should constitute state schooling? I’ve certainly never been asked and I’m a parent, grandparent and in the teaching profession. Is anyone at the top even interested in what we, the people, really think about local school provision?

I wrote the following article several years ago – but I hope it puts across another perspective that there are REAL people working in struggling schools – and that there ARE different ways to improve schools and support staff and local communities – not just closing them down and re-opening them with another name and structure!

http://www.syntheticphonics.com/articles/Divide%20and%20rule.pdf

Debbie

The first blog entry – water!

I am devoting my first blog entry to the cause of clean water and sanitation for everyone.

I think that this is one of the most important issues for us as human beings if we are to consider ourselves compassionate and civilised.

How can we ignore the fact that we approach 2012 and yet clean water and sanitation is not world-wide?

We need a concerted effort to support those organisations that work towards the goal of clean water and sanitation world-wide.

I am high-profiling this issue on my new blog and hope that it will encourage anyone who passes by to make a financial, political and practical contribution towards clean water for all.

Thank you in anticipation.

Debbie