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Sunday, November 14, 2004

multiple intelligences  

posted by Michael Piwonka 8:37 PM
Penny and I have attempted to get a school-wide vote on the idea of standardized uniforms for the student body.

Even though the principal is opposed to the idea, she sent out an impromptu survey to parents regarding the idea. She didn't, however, provide any details of what such an idea would entail, and consequently, we received numerous questions/requests for additional information, some of which were very emotional.

Interestingly, many of the comments were enlightening, potentially providing substance for constructive discussion on the subject (one particularly egregious personal attack on Penny notwithstanding).

Of lesser importance (in my opinion), there were more respondents in favor of uniforms than those opposed. More importantly, we feel that now it is incumbent upon the school to respond to the many comments.

One of the main arguments made by opponents of standardized uniforms is that the school subscribes to the multiple intelligences (MI) curriculum, which basically advocates acknowledging and promoting uniqueness of individuals. Uniforms, in their opinion, are contrary to that idea.

We contacted, among others, the developer of the curriculum, Dr. Howard Gardner of the Harvard Graduate School of Eduation, and while he was not personally an advocate of uniforms, he knew of no research that said uniforms were adverse to the concept of MI. Interestingly, he included the following comment:

[T]here is no 'position' connecting or disconnecting MI and uniforms. Indeed, after seeing the results of the election polls, I think it is very important for proponents of MI to choose their battles wisely. School uniforms may not be the place to draw a line in the sand.


Regardless, we can sense that our attempt to provide the parents of the school the opportunity to vote on the idea will never come to fruition. Opposition to the idea is greater than our personal desire to see it through (perhaps others will take up the cause instead).

However, I have been intrigued by the process by which changes like this occur. Effecting change at a stanchly conservative school like ours is a difficult task, probably requiring more effort eventually than I'm willing to exert (especially for a topic like school uniforms).

Also intriguing is the contradiction between advocating MI concepts while suppressing different opinions. It seems like we're selectively applying MI ideas when it benefits us.

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random. arbitrary. completely unnecessary. yet refreshingly therapeutic.




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