Thursday, January 27, 2011

The First Teacher-in-Space: remembering a pointless tragedy serving questionable purposes.

It has been some 25 years since the space shuttle Challenger rose from Launch Pad 39B to carry to their deaths Commander Dick Scobee, experienced Mission Specialists Judy Resnik, Ron McNair and Ellison Onizuka, along with Pilot Mike Smith and Payload Specialist Greg Jarvis. Also aboard for no really good reason was the newly-designated Teacher-in-Space, Christa McAuliffe, a novice.

Had Christa McAulliffe died in a a genuine effort to highlight the importance of teaching and schooling it would have been different. But the whole Teacher-in-Space effort was just bad faith public relations -- eyewash for an administration that had gotten itself into political hot water by giving nothing but empty platitudes and slashed federal budgets to teachers for four long years.

The death of Christa McCauliffe is a metaphor for all the phony pronouncements of lofty schooling goals that no one takes seriously. The death of Christa McCauliffe is a metaphor for every conscientious teacher working without resources who is piously told that he or she could, if they only tried, do better.

To examine these issues further, see Late Night Thoughts on the Death of Christa McAuliffe

--- GKC

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