Sunday, February 23, 2014

Another Brick in the Wall: Pink Floyd, Race to the Top, and the "Standardization" of Public Education

Dr. Erica Vernold Miller will be presenting at the 2014 NYSFEA Annual Meeting at Colgate University on February 28, 2014. A summary of her presentation is as follows:
In 1979 the iconic band, Pink Floyd, released the album and subsequent movie (1982) The Wall. Hailed by critics as one of the best concept albums ever released; The Wall used graphic lyrics and imagery to tell the story of the fictional character, Pink Floyd, a troubled man struggling to find his way in post-WWII Britain. Traumatized by the after effects of the war, an ineffective educational system, an authoritarian government, and the superficiality of pop culture consumerism, Pink builds a metaphorical mental wall closing himself off from reality (Urick, 2010).

Semi-autobiographical, the educational system, described in The Wall, is a dramatization of band member, Roger Water’s, own educational experiences. Penning the lyrics,

We don’t need no education.

We don’t need no thought control.

No dark sarcasm in the classroom.

Teacher leave them kids alone.

Hey! Teacher! Leave them kids alone!

All and all you’re just another brick in the wall.

(Gilmour & Waters, 1979, track 5)

Waters and bandmate, David Gilmour, expressed their concern that rote standardized learning, likened to thought control, produced compliant drones who could be easily manipulated by the government (Urick, 2010).

Although written 35 years ago, the messages found in The Wall seem to resonate prophetic today given the current state of the U.S. educational system, rife with top down unfunded mandates, pushes for standardized curriculum/testing, and growing educational product consumerism.  This paper presentation will use the lyrics and imagery from The Wall as a lens to examine how Race to the Top is impacting the delivery of education in our public schools. Special attention will be given to the role that the standardization movement has played in the demise of creativity in today’s classrooms. The presentation will culminate with examples of teachers who despite the governmental reform agenda, have resisted the adoption of rote drill and kill practices and instead found creative methods to successfully meet the individual needs of their students.

Gilmour, D. & Waters, R. (1979).  Another brick in the wall part two. On The wall [CD] . New York, United States: Columbia Records.

Urick, B. (2010). Pink Floyd’s The Wall a complete analysis. Retrieved from

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Announcement: Professor Patty Cake Honored

Professor Patty Cake Consulting, L.L.C. is happy to announce the following:

Professor Patty Cake, aka Dr. Erica Vernold Miller will be honored with the Sigma Alpha Phi- Excellence in Teaching Award at the upcoming Cazenovia College Student Leadership Celebration. Dr. Vernold Miller was nominated by the members of  Cazenovia College chapter of Sigma Alpha Phi to receive this award based upon the work that she has done both in and outside of the classroom to promote learning and leadership on campus.

Dr. Erica Vernold Miller's writing will be featured in the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of Excelsior: Leadership in Teaching and Learning. Check out the article by Professor John Livermore, Dr. Kim Wieczorek and Dr. Erica Vernold Miller titled- Three Teachers Meeting the Challenges of APPR. 
Dr. Erica Vernold Miller is also slated to share her research at the following professional conferences:

February 28-March 1, 2014
Time: TBD
Another Brick in the Wall: Pink Floyd, Race to the Top and the "Standardization" of Public Education
Paper Presentation at the NY State Foundations of Education Association's Annual Meeting
Colgate University
Hamilton, NY

July 14-17, 2014
Time: TBD
Changing Early Childhood Policies and Practices to Meet the Needs of Nontraditional Families
Paper Presentation at the 21st International Conference on Learning
Lander College for Women at Touro College
New York City, NY

Ms. Tiffany Varlaro and Dr. Erica Vernold Miller
with their Sigma Alpha Phi Awards

Professor Patty Cake's ® Spring 2019 P-12 Teacher/Educator Job Fair List

Are you graduating soon and are in search of your first teaching job? Are you currently employed in a school but are looking to make a mo...