A few times each year this blog is used to introduce you to a variety of interesting/informative articles I’ve recently encountered and that you might like to read.  Since we’re now close to the Memorial Day weekend, it seems like a good time to do just that.

“BETSY IS AT IT AGAIN” :  (“Betsy DeVos knows little about public education. And she doesn’t want to learn” by Helaine Olen, The Washington Post)

“Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visited New York City this week. And what did she learn?

Nothing about public education, that’s for sure.

While in New York, DeVos did not visit a single public school. Not a traditional public school, and not a charter school. DeVos, however, did make time to tour a pair of private Orthodox Jewish day schools. She also made time to speak at a breakfast sponsored by two charities that promote Catholic parochial education.

Let me repeat that. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visited the nation’s largest public school district, one responsible for educating 1.1 million students annually, and didn’t bother to check out even one public school.

What could she be thinking?  .  .  . “

“ONLINE HIGH SCHOOLS” :  (“Proof that online high school can work: My daughter” by David Von Drehle, The Washington Post)

“ .  .  . Across the United States, online education is booming. Sixth-through-12th-graders enrolled in Florida’s largest full-time virtual high school completed more than 44,000 semesters of classwork last year. In Kansas, virtual school enrollment grew 100-fold between 1999 and 2014, from about 60 students to more than 6,000.

Perhaps inevitably, controversy has followed the growth. Some educators worry that online schools are inherently inferior to traditional classrooms with their flesh-and-blood teachers and peer-group teamwork. I agree that the trend requires close monitoring; at this point, quality research is still sparse. But one widely cited study for Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government found that a well-run virtual school can match outcomes of brick-and-mortar institutions.  .  .  . “

“IS IT A RIGHT TO BELIEVE WHATEVER WE WANT?”  (You don’t have a right to believe whatever you want to” by Daniel DeNicola, professor and chair of philosophy at Gettysburg College, aeon)

“Do we have the right to believe whatever we want to believe? This supposed right is often claimed as the last resort of the willfully ignorant, the person who is cornered by evidence and mounting opinion: ‘I believe climate change is a hoax whatever anyone else says, and I have a right to believe it!’ But is there such a right?

We do recognize the right to know certain things. I have a right to know the conditions of my employment, the physician’s diagnosis of my ailments, the grades I achieved at school, the name of my accuser and the nature of the charges, and so on. But belief is not knowledge.

Beliefs are factive: to believe is to take to be true.

.  .  . ‘Who are you to tell me what to believe?’ replies the zealot. It is a misguided challenge: it implies that certifying one’s beliefs is a matter of someone’s authority. It ignores the role of reality. Believing has what philosophers call a ‘mind-to-world direction of fit’. Our beliefs are intended to reflect the real world – and it is on this point that beliefs can go haywire. There are irresponsible beliefs; more precisely, there are beliefs that are acquired and retained in an irresponsible way. One might disregard evidence; accept gossip, rumour, or testimony from dubious sources; ignore incoherence with one’s other beliefs; embrace wishful thinking; or display a predilection for conspiracy theories.  .  .  .

Believing, like willing, seems fundamental to autonomy, the ultimate ground of one’s freedom. But, as Clifford also remarked: ‘No one man’s belief is in any case a private matter which concerns himself alone.’ Beliefs shape attitudes and motives, guide choices and actions. Believing and knowing are formed within an epistemic community, which also bears their effects. There is an ethic of believing, of acquiring, sustaining, and relinquishing beliefs – and that ethic both generates and limits our right to believe. If some beliefs are false, or morally repugnant, or irresponsible, some beliefs are also dangerous. And to those, we have no right.”

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend.  More next Wednesday  –  –  –

    — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning

        May 23, 2018  (Mondays & Wednesdays)


(This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner,, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)