Special interests in education

sifmaI think an educational dollar going to a school resource officer would be a good use of an educational dollar.–Tom Reed at Enfield as reported by Matt Steecker in the Elmira Star-Gazette

Earlier today, I had the pleasure of speaking with students at Red Jacket High School where we discussed current events and the Capitol Hill Challenge with the SIFMA Foundation.–Rep. Tom Reed, facebook 5/4/18

Thinking I might like to teach HS Mathematics, I once took an introductory course in Education. The professor explained that while colleges attempt to graduate effective teachers, the biggest influence on how teachers teach is the teacher’s own experience in the classroom. Teachers tend to teach as they were taught.

It is too much to expect that all teachers will be knowledgeable, fair-minded, and effective. One must take the good with the bad. Teachers have varied experiences and political views. However, one might hope that education isn’t too much influenced by special interests.

It is reasonable to expect education to be unbiased by special interests. I am uneasy when Tom Reed addresses students on any subject, because I fear his views are unduly influenced by self-interest. I know from having heard him on the subject of economics, that he will tell students things that are untrue. If and when he speaks about school safety, I have no doubt his views are unduly influenced by the NRA.

At Red Jacket HS, Tom reportedly spoke to students about SIFMA’s Capitol Hill Challenge. “SIFMA is the voice of the U.S. securities industry.” Neither SIFMA nor members of Congress belong in schools. Both represent special interests.

The SIFMA Foundation’s annual Capitol Hill Challenge™ (CHC), presented by the Charles Schwab Foundation, is an exciting national financial education competition for junior high and high schools that reaches all 50 U.S. states and their members of Congress. CHC matches Members of Congress with students, teachers, and schools competing in The Stock Market Game™ in their respective district or state. Student teams manage a hypothetical $100,000 online portfolio and invest in real stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. Since its inception in 2004, CHC has made 3,800 matches of U.S. Representatives and Senators with schools, encompassing more than 103,000 students across the country.

The Capitol Hill Challenge sounds like fun, but the fun overshadow the financial interest of the securities business–there is a danger that this is indoctrination rather than education.

When Tom Reed does speak to students, I hope their teachers take care to explain that his views need to be examined critically. Being elected to office doesn’t make one an expert on any subject.






About whungerford

* Contributor at NewNY23rd.com where we discuss the politics, economics, and events of the New New York 23rd Congressional District (Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, (Eastern) Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben,Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates Counties) Please visit and comment on whatever strikes your fancy.
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16 Responses to Special interests in education

  1. josephurban says:

    No matter what your political persuasion the most important task of teachers is to encourage curiosity and develop critical thinking skills. I think this extends across disciplines. Unfortunately some folks consider critical thinking to be “liberal indoctrination”. They want an educational system that tells kids WHAT to think, not helps them develop HOW to investigate evidence.
    Stock market games have their place in the overall understanding of our economic system. But not to the exclusion of other aspects of an economics education, like an analysis of how the system operates. Its strengths and weaknesses. And comparisons with other economic systems. Good teachers cover all of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Renate Bob says:

    Sounds like the Koch brothers’ influence, trying to indoctrinate students.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 3 people

  3. cathkestler says:

    I’m happy that this is being shouted from the rafters and even our teens can see through his obvious BS.
    Register to vote, become informed and vote for what’s correct young America. Your vote truly counts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. whungerford says:

    Renate Bob, thanks for your comment. I was thinking of the Koch Brothers too, especially their program of funding university chairs on condition that the appointed professor’s research further their views. It is reprehensible for a university to accept such a deal.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. whungerford says:

    Reed was introduced by the superintendent, then discussed firearm regulations as follows. Was this legitimate? I believe this is political blowback from the Parkland student’s activism.

    “Does the gun cause the violence?” Reed asked. “Does anyone think the gun itself causes the violence? I believe that it’s the individual that’s behind that weapon that is really the root cause of the that problem.”



  6. pystew says:

    I would be surprised if teachers took much time preparing students to realize that a politican’s message should be questioned. They have to spend time covering the materials that will be on the state test. Social Studies teachers complain that they can’t discuss elections (research issues, have debates, get students more involved) like they used to.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. cathkestler says:

    Reed is afraid. He has Democratic challengers that have him cornered and his usual tactics aren’t working so he is going after what he considers the ‘easily moldable’. Parkland has given these kids a loud outlet because of the inaction they have witnessed by the elected officials. I am proud to say I was a student of ‘old school’ teaching which stoked my passion for politics which lead me to a minor in Poly Sci. I hate that kids are taught to take the next test because a teachers’s rating is tied to how many kids pass the test along with funding for the district.


  8. whungerford says:

    Having a member of Congress address students ought to be a good thing. There are any number of neutral subjects Reed might have addressed–good government, his experience in Congress, importance of voting. Why he discouraged students from attending college, saying some colleges have water park rides, small TVs in every locker, even own a ski resort to explain why college can be expensive, I can’t imagine. Does Tom believe such amenities are typical? Does Tom view education as no more than a meal ticket?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Rob Pawlak says:

    I had Brian Higgins address my Participation in Government class when I taught it. He discussed how government functioned, and what his job was as a representative. This sounds like (granted, I was not there) Tom pushing his agenda.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. cathkestler says:

    Rob, it’s been awhile since high school for me, but we had speakers like Higgins talk about his experiences in government. You are absolutely correct in assessing that Reed was their for self-serving ideations.


  11. I would be surprised if teachers took much time preparing students to realize that a politican’s message should be questioned.


  12. josephurban says:

    In NY state critical thinking is an integral part of the Social Studies curriculum. Especially in the required Participation-in-Government course for seniors. The students are encouraged to collect data, analyze points of view, actively participate in politics. There is plenty of good teaching going on.


  13. John charles says:

    Renate Bob, thanks for your comment. I was thinking of the Koch Brothers too, especially their program of funding university chairs on condition that the appointed professor’s research further their views. It is reprehensible for a university to accept such a deal.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Preety says:

    Simple and Nice blog


  15. ashraf009 says:

    Interesting things ahead. Thanks for sharing


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