The Outside World, In and Around Duluth

Another Semester Begins

This semester, I am taking Program Evaluation and Foundations of Educational Research.

Program Evaluation has already started, and so far, we are talking about how the field of EE seems to lend itself to attack from those forces who would seek to diminish the impact or role of EE. Environmental Education tends to do this either by not using good science, or by not being even-handed and non-partisan.

The problem with EE being non-partisan is that it’s not non-partisan. Just by its name, you could figure out that Environmental Education would be a field which is pro-environment. And yet, people (like Michael Sanera, so far) criticize EE for being biased. It is interesting to me that, when you search for Sanera, you find him often associated with a lot of right-wing think tanks.

And Sanera’s assertion appears to be that EE should be non-partisan. That it should not say (for instance) that mountaintop removal mining is a bad thing, it’s just a thing that is happening in the environment. How you feel about it should be your decision, and not the view of some environmental educator that is being forced into your brain. That doesn’t seem realistic, to me. It would be like saying that driving drunk is not a bad thing, it is just a thing that some drivers choose to do. How you feel about it should be up to you, and not up to MADD, the legislature, or anyone else. Seems silly, doesn’t it?

Anyway, this isn’t about roasting Sanera or anyone else. To me, it’s just interesting that EE is defending itself for not being non-partisan enough, and from clearly partisan attacks. It’s kind of like the field of EE has an inferiority complex.

Well, this is a new angle that I’m learning about, so I’ve obviously got some reading to do on this one. Interesting idea.

Oh – the connection to ‘Program Evaluation’ is (approximately) that until we can effectively evaluate our programming, and know what we are doing and why we’re doing it, we leave ourselves open to attacks that may or may not have any basis in reality. It’ll be interesting to see where this all leads.


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