Imagine my surprise when a fellow retired educator by the name of Ken O’Connor left comments on this thread that basically said I was wrong about everything I have written related to no-fail policies and teachers being allowed to give zeros. Judging from his website, he is obviously a very credible professional. Yet, I have rarely encountered a more single minded arrogant visitor in the nearly five years I have been blogging. Readers will find his comments here, here and here.
There is no doubt whatsoever that O’Connor is entitled to his opinions based on his own education and experiences. However, what I found problematic was that he didn’t seem to feel I was entitled to mine. Initially, for instance, he seemed to assume I didn’t know what I was writing about. Well, I do know what I am writing about as I have done, and continue to do, my own research and publishing.
The problem, as I see it, is that there are three paradigms or world views, as explained in Curriculum Perspectives and Practice by John Miller (a former teacher of mine) and Wayne Seller. And, unless you are going to debate at cross purposes, it is always a good idea to figure out where a person is coming from in terms of their beliefs about curriculum and instruction and everything in between.
In any event, while neither O’Connor or myself have all the answers, each of us should be allowed to have opposing opinions as professionals. However, since that was not the case, the one thing I learned from his visit here is that the no-fail policy divide between teachers and parents is widening to such a degree that there is soon going to be a complete inability for either side to effectively communicate with the other.
And, unfortunately, the crux of the matter is that stuck right in the middle of the debate are the students who will one day be adults in a world where employers do not differentiate between “learning” and “behaviours.”