Philosophy of Education: Essays and Commentaries

By Hobert W. Burns; Charles J. Brauner | Go to book overview

a tendency in his own behavior, thus recognizing a personal motive. But one can also become aware of a requirement. In fact "becoming conscious of a requirement" can have the additional meaning of "accepting the requirement as proper." So a claim to base schooling on felt needs is open to a surprising variety of possible interpretations. It is not at all clear what the injunction means.


IV

The upshot of all this is clear. The continued wanton use of "need" to pose important educational ideas and issues results in vague, indeterminate, often trivial cliches which sacrifice clarity to obfuscation and generally do treason to the cause of understanding. We would do well to objure the term. We would not be losing a word; we would be gaining an audience.


Value Theories and the Evaluation of Education

D. Bob Gowin*

Starting in the fall of 1958, a five- year study will attempt to answer the question: "How good are our schools?"1 Co-sponsors of the study are the National School Boards' Association and the American Association of School Administrators. The project will attempt to provide techniques that would enable school board members, school administrators and the community "to take an objective and critical look at their schools and determine just how effective they are."2

Serious concern with the effectiveness of public education is both a public and professional issue. The public is demanding a better report on the schools: teachers are demanding the opportunity to do a better job of teaching. Often missed in the many heated discussions, however, is the recognition of the terms "effectiveness" and "better" as value terms. Whether public schools are effective as they ought to be, or whether they could be better, cannot be decided until we can at least recognize the different conceptions of values and then go on, if we need to act, to choose an appropriate conception.

Help with this problem comes from two directions. First, a brief look at where values are located in the different value theories helps to clarify the issue because if we can locate values, then we will know where to turn to evaluate education. Secondly, a more extensive look at some of the confusions as well as positive contributions surrounding the prominent experimentalist theory of value might help to present a program for action.

In classical value theory, values are located in a variety of places. The Aristotelians place value in the being, inherently; and "beings" are usually

____________________
*
Reprinted by permission from Teacher Education Quarterly, XV ( Connecticut State Department of Education, Spring, 1958), 78- 84.
1
Leonard Buder, "Five-Year Study Set on School Rating," The New York Times ( April 17, 1958), p. 33.
2
Ibid.

-402-

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