Muddle headedness defended

Published: Tuesday, March 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 28, 2005 at 9:25 p.m.
I find it interesting that Edward Roberts (Feb. 28) chose to respond to my Speaking Out (Feb. 20) by being pejorative rather than analyzing and rebutting my points. "Muddle headed" and "Ivory tower" presumably take care of the situation.
As far as the ivory tower is concerned, there are very few professional educators who have, as I, (1) taught in the public schools, (2) taught in a college of education at a state university, (UVa), (3) voluntarily returned to the public schools for a period of years, and (4) returned to the university. (University of Florida)
In addition, throw in three years working directly with public schools in South Korea.
My muddle headedness includes being a teacher of high school mathematics, high school physics, the author of two books on testing, a Fulbright recipient and an NEA Fellowship.
Edwards speaks of 47 years of teaching experience. I started teaching in 1947 and retired in 1991 (44 years), not counting five years in the Navy in World War II.
And yes, we probably have a few dodos in the UF College of Education, but we have some great and wonderful ones too, such has been characteristic of most colleges of my experience. So why malign them all?
And, when I suggested lengthening the school day, Edwards assumes that means sitting on one's butt listening to a teacher talk. I spoke of supervised activities, including music, art, physical exercise, homework, as well as regular classes.
And, rather than denigrating the work on the gifted, my article spoke glowingly of that work. However, my major hope was that we might have a reasoned discourse and attempt to resolve the difficulties we face rather than employing a diatribe.
And, it might be noted, I put my money where my mouth is.
William D. Hedges, Gainesville

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