EDU 6120 – Week 7 “All things considered”

One of the important points I notice in Horace Mann’s annual report for the Massachusetts State Board of Education (1848) is the denunciation of “European theory.” It was about 50 years after the French revolution when he wrote, “the fatal extremes of overgrown wealth and desperate poverty.” History is full of fallen empires due to the decline of the middle class. I sense Mann was worried about the polarization of money and power in his state, and felt that education is the great equalizer. It is still an issue to this day when in America the richest 1% of the people holds 42.7% of the financial wealth, while the next 19% of people holds 50.3%, and lastly the other 80% of people account for only 7% of the wealth (Wolff, 2010). That means 20% of the people control 93% of the financial wealth in our country.

While reading the selection from Booker T. Washington’s address at the Atlanta Exposition entitled “On Achieving Social Equity,” I would have to say that he had to be one of the magnanimous leaders in American history. I understood his striving for unity, but I was struck by his humble approach coming from a man who was born into slavery, and went on to accomplish so many great things. His ability to put the past behind him when speaking to an exposition from the “cotton states” is inspirational.

Arthur Ellis’ excerpt” Multicultural Education” made me reflect on of my own family history. My father’s family moved to America from Germany in the 1930’s, and worked in the fields of Montana. My wife’s mother emigrated from Taiwan in the 1960’s, and neither of our parents taught us their native languages due to stigma and wanting to fit in. I was thankful that in my father’s later years I was able to find out a lot of my family’s history, but I regret not experiencing more of the culture first hand.

Considering all things leads me wanting to create an equal playing ground for everyone. We need to strengthen economic equality while acknowledging one of our greatest strengths is our diverse society. I agree with Mann in that education is one of the great equalizers, and as educators we will be a focal point for that task when teaching people regardless of backgrounds.


Wolff, E. N. (2010). Recent trends in household wealth in the United States: Rising debt and the middle-class squeeze – an update to 2007. Working Paper No. 589. Annandale-on-Hudson, NY: The Levy Economics Institute of Bard College.

This entry was posted in L1: Learner centered, L2: Classroom/school centered, L3: Family/neighborhood centered, L4: Contextual community centered, P1: Informed by professional responsibilities and policies, P2: Enhanced by reflective, collaborative, professional growth-centered practice, P3: Informed by legal and ethical responsibilities, S1 - Content driven, T3: Influenced by multiple instructional strategies and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to EDU 6120 – Week 7 “All things considered”

  1. aaronclaar says:

    Hey James, I like the stats. It’s always interesting to me, especially around campaign time, to hear who “pays their fair share,” and all the different ideas about what is fair. I wonder how a seemingly so simple word like “fair” is used and understood so differently by so many.

    What impressed me more than B. T. Washington’s eloquence was he actually strove to “practice what he preached.” He was able to see the big picture – the importance of leaving the past behind. That is impressive – much easier said than done.

    On another note, I’m curious to know if you and your wife teach your kids about their heritage. How do you build a family culture? Where I grew up, I felt like everyone else had a cultural identity except my family. Having a two year old daughter, I wonder if she will feel the same if I don’t do something to help build her identity. The challenge is that identification can push people to take a side in conflict rather than working towards a peaceful compromise. Hhhhmmmmm . . .

  2. I blogged about the same idea. I think it is imperative that we strive to every student an equal opportunity to succeed in education. Students come from different backgrounds and we, as educators, need to recognize that come students are going to exhibit more problems than others and have less advantages. If teachers can spend a little extra time with these students and help them get resources for them and their families they can succeed like everyone else.

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