Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Headmistress on this and that

The Headmistress from The Common Room shares a profund thought about how homeschooling parents may be in the best position to help develop the character of their children in Is There a Hole In Your Bucket? She makes a great point.

eBay decided not to allow their sellers to sell teacher manuals. The policy was not discussed or announced ahead of time, they just imposed it. (Which is OK for a business, but it may end up being bad business.) Part of the problem is the draconian approach, eBay even canceled items for sale which weren't teacher manuals. The Headmistress provides extensive background in Teacher's Editions Redux on the history and issues. One of the fascinating parts of her post is selections she found on eBay's forums as people tried to explain to eBay why this was a stupid policy. eBay doesn't appear to be listening. My guess is eBay won't change and homeschoolers will move on to other services for buying and selling education related materials.

Awhile back we posted about Richard Feynman's experience on the textbook review process. The Headmistress shares her father's (G-pa) experience:


On one of the last occasions he participated in the project, one of his fellow committee members came to the meeting armed for battle. Thin-lipped and stern, she directed the committee to turn to page such and such in the book, where she had spotted an instance of stereotyping.
On the guilty page was a photograph of a father holding a baby. G-pa looked blankly at the page, and then asked the woman what was stereotyped about a father holding a baby. In his day, all babies were held by women, so he thought this was a nice improvement.
"But," said the thin-lipped, disapproving Committee Woman, "It's a black man, and he's holding a black baby. That's stereotyping"
Patiently G-pa explained why that wasn't stereotyping. Somebody else on the committee gently explained biology, "Every black man I've ever seen fathered black babies."

It didn't matter.


I really wonder about such people. Did she want the picture to be a black man holding a white baby? Or did she want the picture to be a white man holding a black baby? Or a white woman holding a white baby? In almost every case someone would be upset.

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Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Thanks for the links!
So, maybe she wanted it to be a picture of a proud papa holding a test tube?

Henry Cate said...

Oh no! You have opened a whole another set of options. I hadn't even thought of test tubes. :-)