Thursday, December 5, 2013

Educational Reform for the 21st Century with 100 Year-Old Revolutionary Ideas

It is obvious to many, if not most people that there are serious flaws in our educational system. Different countries have taken various approaches toward guiding students into becoming the sorts of citizens that each country's officials desire to create. In some instances, that may mean schools and policies that put religion front and center, or limit access to education for certain demographics (such as girls). Historically, schools have been used as a means for generating a functioning working class, reinforcing dogmatic beliefs and otherwise cultivating a populace that will support the statusquo.

Between wars in the preceding century, various educators and philosophers, primarily in Europe, but also in the United States, began to think of other ways to educate the "whole child." This meant moving beyond simple rote learning and memorization and, though they may not have fully understood it yet because the science was not established, working within actual neurological developmentally appropriate stages of each child's intellectual and emotional growth. Key among the influencers of their time were three individuals who established long-lasting and somewhat overlapping movements: Maria Montessori, Rudolf Steiner and John Dewey.

The Pioneers of Progressive Developmental Education

These pioneering individuals were each deeply affected by the upheavals in Western society during their lifetimes. The impact of World War I, most significantly, caused many people of their time to re-evaluate human priorities and become more proactive in creating a future that was geared toward peace and individual development.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

So the needless government shutdown of 2013 is over... who's to blame and why should we care?

Things have been pretty quiet here at the Third Party lately. But eyes have been on Washington and the general "Business As Usual" choices being made by those in office. Observing the descent into this recent government shutdown and the distractions thrown at the media in order to keep us all guessing has been very frustrating. So I am going to clear a little of this up right here and now, and actually call for some very specific action.

While at one time, the founders of this organization harbored the notion of forming a viable political alternative to the dominant parties, one which was based on reason and empathy rather than partisan dogma, it did not seem as though mainstream Americans were ready to jump on board this particular revolution. We therefore veered toward the goal of education and enlightenment, changing perspectives when possible and attempting to foster a new base of thoughtful, reasoned and educated voters. The fact that the Tea Party influence so heavily flushed through Congress in the last election cycle is evidence that our work here did not go far enough. Bearing that in mind, we are opening a Facebook page to act as our live discussion board, while keeping this site alive for commentary pieces (in this blog) and general information on the home page. It is seriously underfunded, so please do not expect frequent updates. However, change only happens when individuals act in support. And that being said, I am going to move along into the clear issues of why our government was shut down and what to do about it now.