UPTON SINCLAIR AWARDS 2006

Nov 30, 2006 by

Mike Shaughnessy
Eastern New Mexico University

Delia Stafford
Haberman Educational Foundation,Inc.

Jimmy Kilpatrick, Editor of EducationViews.org and The Haberman Educational Foundation, published the first annual Upton Sinclair Awards, 2005. The award recognized outstanding individuals in the field of education. This year, we are again proud to acknowledge the contributions of nine outstanding people and one group who have contributed to the field of education, all of whom are great thinkers, motivators and believe children are important and deserve the best life has to offer. Afterall, no child has ever ask to be born. So therefore, as responsible human beings we must do what ever is necessary to make their lives meaningful, and give them the start in life that they so richly deserve. The following individuals met the criteria!

HERE THEY ARE!! 2006 USA/Upton Sinclair Awards

1) John Stossel —For having the courage to stand up and say what most of us know, but we are afraid or embarrassed to say so, and he had  courage to write about it.  His book  “Stupid in America “ is an accurate reflection of what Charles Sykes wrote about in terms of “ the dumbing down of America”. While this story is no longer “brand new”, as educators we should not forget the message. Nationally, we do have room for improvement! Education is the route to true freedom. We need to “ put our foot in the road” on that route!! Thank you  Mr. Stossel, for the reminder! And it was not just a gentle reminder! He gave us the… lambasting truth!

2) Jan and Bob Davidson have put their money where their ideals, and commitments have been- into the field of gifted education. Their book, Genius Denied speaks to the fact that in many instances, educationally, we are wasting the minds of the best students. According to the New York Times  review, their book chronicles the frustration of some educators  when the brightest children, many of whom are misunderstood, are summarily  shuffled away in deference to other political priorities. Sports perhaps? The Davidson’s actions have been seen and followed  through the years. Their support for the gifted has been unparalleled and we wish them the best for the future. We are confident that the parents as well as the gifted students will be forever grateful to them. For more information log on to http://www.geniusdenied.com

3) Peyton Wolcott, a Wild West Texas reporter, is working in her own way, on behalf of children. She has accomplished incredible results and has literally risk life and limb, so to speak, as well as police arrest on certain occasions, for exposing corruption, graft, scandal and the frivolous perks that are exploited by “some” superintendents as well as others affiliated with our public schools. She is a great teacher in her own right. Her lesson for every taxpayer is this; make sure that your school board and your superintendent is never allowed to spend “YOUR” hard earned money frivolously. They must be, as well all educators, held accountable for their actions. Her microphone tote’un arm has a long reach; all the way to the  “Big Apple”. Other states around the country have felt her presence.. Her photo gallery of individuals behind bars seems quite appropriate! In the Lone Star State, we call that, “ round’um up, move ‘um out”!! For Peyton Wolcott, honesty is the surely the best policy!!!!! So should it be for us all.

4) Fred Baughman, M.D. has not necessarily been a lone voice crying in the wilderness about the massive, gargantuan amounts of pills being pushed into our kid’s mouths these days, but he has been consistent in his communication, concern and compassion. The drug companies are pushing “attention deficit disorder” and “ treatment “ for this constellation of behavioral symptoms. Giving stimulants to children without providing counseling, behavior modification skills, information about accommodations and modifications and maybe even tutoring is, in my opinion, tantamount to medical malpractice. Dr. Baugman is fighting an up hill battle against a culture that believes that all problems can be solved by some type of pill or medication. Well, as the old Paul Revere and the Raiders sang in the song “ Kicks “ “ Don’t it seem no matter what you do, you’ll never run away from you”! Making kids sleepy all day with Taractan, Haldol, and these other drugs, is NOT “ treatment! We are agreed that children need to be taught social skills, interaction skills, how to behave, how to control themselves, how to socialize and how to learn. Simply putting the child in an institution, or putting the child on Ritalin, or Adderol or Cylert or Strattera or some other stimulant is not the TOTAL answer. In fact, drugs should be the last resort! Thank you ,Dr. Baughman.

5)  Will Fitzhugh  for many years been a the premier advocate for quality writing in the schools. His Concord Review has been a symbol of excellence with respect for the high school student learning to write in meaningful ways. Equally important is his drive to instill the love of writing, in general, as an important life skill. With his passion for writing and ensuring that students have the writing skill, is a true gift to the education community. Will Fitzhugh with his Concord Review has accomplished tremendous results over the years. He has fostered American history, scholarly endeavors and the beauty of writing and research. The students will long remember their accomplishments because of  his skillful guidance. Would that schools everywhere could clone this person,WF.

6) Joel Turtel, author,educator and distinct critic of what he believes are major factors that deter learning in our nations school. His book, Public Schools, Public Menace. spells out the uncompromising reasons why our schools fail students, especially children in poverty .His statements regarding the whole role of the teacher, their constant excuses and the ultimate disregard for taking responsibility in the classroom is indeed scorching but all to true in many instances. He is to be commended for “cutting to the chase” when it comes to “telling the TRUTH” on all counts for what matters for the “clients” of our education system; “It’s the children stupid!” Upton would be proud! So are we! In a word, we can depend on Joel Turtel to set us straight! He speaks on behalf of the children. Would that more would speak!

7) Bernard Gassaway teacher, principal, and former superintendent of alternative schools and programs for the NYC Schools, a Columbia University Charles H. Revson Fellow, and author of, Reflections of an Urban High School Principal . His account of what schools and systems reflect ensure that without careful planning and determination, nothing will change or reform our schools;  further, all of the money in our universe will not change the direction of our children’s lives. His comparison of “schools” to “prisons” is earth shattering when we begin to recognize what children in our large urban districts witness and experience every day in America. Bernard Gassaway has much to offer,much to give. But the system, as we know it today, will burnout the most brave and  committed educator in the universe. We believe it did just that to Bernard Gassaway! He observed more than he could or was willing to  tolerate. Without fail however, the BG’s of the world will continue to do good things for children, especially for those children who live in poverty. We salute!

8)Ned Davis teacher ,educator, and author of, Lessons for Tomorrow. His research and constant message, brings an innovative and fresh look at how schools should operate in the next 25-50 years. His contention is that we are using a system of education that has long since become outdated. “We don’t need reform” he states, “we need to simply start over, leaving the system behind instead of the kids”. You know, you’ve heard it,“no child left behind”, unfortunately, we are leaving many children behind! What if we were still driving Model T’s! You get the picture. Ned Davis has a well thought out plan. One that will work if we are willing to take notice and broad scale action! If not, the system as we know it now will breakdown under it’s own heavy spending weight. We think he is RIGHT!

9)Her Highness Sheikah Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned has been selected as an Upton Sinclair winner from our international community of educators.  Her Highness stated at a recent conference in Doha, April 2006, that the Qatar Foundation has diligently continued their efforts to develop positive relationships between teachers, researchers and policy makers to ensure education remains a major focus for the children, and for the betterment of the country. Her interest includes greater international access to education, technology used on a broad scale in employment and creating a productive economy and the promotion of democracy. In America, we are pleased to honor our international colleagues. We hope to hear more of their ideas, collaborate and discover ways to better serve our world so that all children have opportunities to learn and succeed as they develop their individual talents.

10) “All the Children of the World As the New Year approaches, it seems only fitting since we are honoring educators, that we say something of the recipients of the education we are providing to those who are the “captive audience.” To the gifted, make the most of what you have been given in terms of brainpower, never forgetting there are many who are less fortunate. For those who are doing well in school, thank a teacher. For those who need special help, stay the course. To those who have left the “hallways”, we know we have failed you. We could have done more. Perhaps you will better your life as time moves forward. For those headed down the “wrong road” to nowhere, as educators we shake our heads in shame; perhaps, had we made one more try, said one more encouraging word, you would be sitting in a college classroom, somehow, somewhere, in America!   After all, we as educators are the adults in this education scenario!  Red and Yellow, Black and White……..they are……

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