Google+ Followers

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Marva Collins Story

Marva Collins is one of the educators you've never heard of.  The Establishment knows it would be politically incorrect to criticize her (she's a black woman), so it chooses to ignore her.  In my Education School classes, Collins was mentioned zero times, while hacks and frauds like Freire and Kozol were brought up repeatedly.  Collins should have been held up as a model, instead she was invisible.  She didn't exist.

What did Collins do in inner city Chicago?  She provided first rate education - superior to that of the Public Schools - for half the price.  She showed that a quality education is neither expensive or out of reach, and she did it where supposedly the public schools are the best and only option.

How did she do it?  With traditional methods that have been known for millennia (from Wikipedia): 

"Marva Collins uses the Socratic method, modified for use in primary school. The first step is to select material with abstract content to challenge students' logic, and that will therefore have different meaning to different students, in order to aid discussion. This is done specifically to teach children to reason.

Next, the teacher should read the material, because unknown material cannot be taught. New words, the words to watch, should be listed, and taught, for pronunciation, use and spelling before the material is read. Without this step, the reading is meaningless.

Next, one begins a series of pertinent questions as the reading progresses, starting with a reference to the title, and a question about what the material is about. Predictions should use logic, reasoning and evidence without fallacy. The reading must be out loud, so the teacher can ask questions at pertinent points. Students are taught to test their reasoning. Afterward, they write daily letters to the author or characters, and write a critical review. Why is the work important to them? The child must be taught to refer to what was previously learned to support their opinions."

This method is related to the Trivium - resources are online or in libraries for free.  In contrast to the fads that come and go in the Public School arena, Collins realized what John Taylor Gatto and Adam Robinson and Jaime Escalante did; that a quality education is inexpensive and the public system is both overpriced and ineffective, especially in areas where it is needed the most. 

In another parallel to my experience, and Gatto's, Collins has written:  "I have discovered few learning disabled students in my three decades of teaching. I have, however, discovered many, many victims of teaching inabilities."[2] I make this comment frequently.  I have never met 'special ed' student, nor have a met an 'honors' student.  In the slow motion train wreck where I work, hundreds of thousands of dollars are being poured into 'Common Core' (the latest fad), and 'Special Education' (a monumental and spectacularly inefficient and ineffective bureacracy).  

Collins was in the same predicament 30 years ago: "During the 2006-2007 school year, Collins' school charged $5,500 for tuition, and parents said the school did a much better job than the Chicago public school system.[1]
Meanwhile, during the 2007-2008 year, Chicago public school officials claimed that their budget of $11,300 per student was not enough."

Collins' story is one that you are supposed know nothing about.  Mentioning her, Escalante, Gatto or, (God forbid) homeschooling, warrants shock and outrage from those limiting themselves to the 3x5 card of Established Opinion - regardless of facts or outcomes.

For years, "The Marva Collins Story" was difficult to find.  Now it is available for everyone for free.  Watch it.

No comments: