Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Education Matters

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.
- Albert Einstein

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
- Aristotle

Education Matters

Is a good education hard to find ... or are we just looking in the wrong places?

Einstein ... Aristotle ... it seems like everyone knows something about education ...
  • what it is [or is not]
  • how it is acquired [or if it just happens]
  • what it should [or should not] do or be used for by those who possess it
  • and, perhaps most important of all, whether the answers to all these questions about human education endure across continents and over time or whether they change in response to external temporal factors which make benchmarking a "good education" confusing if not downright impossible.
While we do not expect Einstein or Aristotle to be at the next meeting of the New Symposium Society to discuss education, we do hope YOU will be there ... ready to listen to our panelists ... and to help them probe this perennial and promising topic by asking your own questions.

When and Where

  • 7:00 to 8:30 pm Tuesday evening June 27
  • Room 103, Business and Technology Building, FRIENDS UNIVERSITY (NE corner of the campus, near the intersection of Maple and Hiram) ... our special thanks to Friends for its continued interest in promoting local civic dialogue!

Opening Questions

Our panelists have agreed to respond in their opening statements to the following questions:
  • What are the most important observable outcomes of a K-12 education?
  • What are the responsibilities of the state, the home, the business community and the professional educator in ensuring those outcomes?
  • How are “we” doing? Any changes needed?
After they respond, the floor will be open to you [and to them] to probe their answers to these questions and to raise other questions about education which the panelists have each agreed to try to answer ... individually and collectively.


We are glad to announce our evening's panelists ... and excited to hear what they have to share with us.
Paul Babich had a lengthy and distinguished service as a classroom teacher and department chairman in Wichita Public Schools, retiring in 2009.  Mr. Babich was full-time release president of United Teachers of Wichita, the local teachers’ union, and served on the board of directors of Kansas NEA.  His B.A. (History) and MEd. (Secondary Education) are from  Wichita State University.

Dr. Walt Chappell is the president of Educational Management Consultants and former member of the Kansas State Board of Education. He has been a classroom teacher, data analyst, grant writer, curriculum developer, and evaluator of cost-effective learning systems.  His Ph.D. is from Michigan State University, with emphasis in instructional systems design. Mr. Chappell’s undergraduate degree is from Kansas University (Biology).

Lauren Coleman-Tempel works as a Research Associate for the Kansas City Area Education Research Consortium (KC-AERC) housed at the University of Kansas. She is also a third year doctoral student studying educational inequality through a sociological lens in the Educational Leadership and Policy department at KU. In addition to teaching in the School of Education, Lauren has worked in migrant and low-income education initiatives.

Dr. Delia Shropshire is the principal of Holy Savior Catholic Academy here in Wichita.  She came to Wichita in 1998 after serving in classroom and administrative positions at St. Katharine of Sienna Catholic School in inner-city Baltimore. Her undergraduate degree is from Loyola University Maryland (Business Administration and Management Information Systems); her doctorate, from Capella University (Educational Leadership).

Dan Snyder is a Rhetoric and Logic instructor at the Classical School of Wichita. As a U.S. Marine, he worked in military simulation programming and lectured on design theory.  He was a training technology manager with the Drew biomedical division of the American Red Cross.   In a parallel career, Mr. Snyder performed regularly at the White House as a member of the U.S. Army Chorus, then on stages around the world as an independent soloist.  He has studied at Bryan College, George Mason, Mannes Conservatory, and The New School in New York, where he holds a certificate in screenwriting.

The Evening's Format

Each panelist will give an opening 5 minute position statement ... to which we will provide a link on this page in advance if the panelist wishes to share it with us in advance ... although we have explicitly advised panelists that providing a position statement in advance is not required.

After the opening statements, our moderator will dedicate the remainder of the evening to questions ... from panelists to their fellow panelists ... and from the audience to panelists ... so bring your questions since we will devote most of the evening to looking for possible answers to them.

And for those of you who feel inclined to get some questions out in the open for consideration BEFORE the evening's meeting, feel free to blog your COMMENTS below and to REPLY to any blogged comments as needed to build some trains of thought about our subject.


Another GREAT symposium evening ... with a SUPER panel ... an INFORMED audience ... at an excellent UNIVERSITY [thank you Friends !!!] ... has been completed. We all brought our ideas about education ... and left [hopefully] with a few new ones shared by our panelists and audience of symposiasts willing to come together in civil dialogue.

If you missed it or if you just want to watch it again, here is our AV presentation of the evening courtesy of Paul Soutar at Graphic Lens ... let Paul know how much you appreciate his excellent work for New Symposium Society.

We are already thinking about our next subject ... so if you have some ideas about a topic we need to grasp better ... just let us hear from you ... contact us at   Bye until our next meeting and in the meantime stay tuned to our blogsite.

Suggested Readings

If you have some readings you would like to suggest, just let us know by emailing them to us at and we will try to review them for inclusion.


“The State of Education in this Troubled Age”, address by Walter Lippmann, 1940
“Obama Should Heed Tocqueville on Schools”, article by Williamson Evers, 2011

“The Argument for Tuition-Free College”, article by Rep. Keith Ellison, 2016


Other Blogs

1 comment:

    homo sapiens - [human] + [wise]

    My dear fellow symposiasts,

    Education is a worthy endeavor. Please entertain [even if you cannot accept] these thoughts from one educator [my friend Socrates] who was sentenced to death by the state for corrupting the youth with his teachings. Perhaps, they will lead you out of prejudice and folly into a world of higher purposes and greater meanings.

    your friend too,

    "O men of Athens ... You must have known Chaerephon; he was early a friend of mine, and also a friend of yours ... [who] went to Delphi and boldly asked the oracle to tell him whether ... there was anyone wiser than [Socrates], and the Pythian prophetess answered that there was no man wiser. ... [And] when I heard the answer, I said to myself, What can the god mean?

    "The truth is, O men of Athens, that God only is wise; and in this oracle he means to say that the wisdom of men is little or nothing; he is not speaking of Socrates, he is only using my name as an illustration, as if he said, He, O men, is the wisest, who, like Socrates, knows that his wisdom is in truth worth nothing. And so I go my way, obedient to the god, and make inquisition into the wisdom of anyone, whether citizen or stranger, who appears to be wise; and if he is not wise, then in vindication of the oracle I show him that he is not wise; and this occupation quite absorbs me, and I have no time to give either to any public matter of interest or to any concern of my own, but I am in utter poverty by reason of my devotion to the god.

    "Men of Athens, I honor and love you; but I shall obey God rather than you, and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy, exhorting anyone whom I meet ... not to take thought for persons and properties, but first and chiefly to care about the greatest improvement of the soul. This is my teaching, and if this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth, my influence is ruinous indeed.

    "Men of Athens ... if you kill such a one as I am, you will injure yourselves more than you will injure me. ... For I am a sort of gadfly, given to the state by the God ... all day long and in all places ... fastening upon you, arousing and persuading and reproaching you.

    "Some may wonder why I go about in private ... but do not venture to come forward in public and advise the state. I will tell you the reason of this. You have often heard me speak of an oracle or sign which comes to me, and is the divinity which ... I have had ever since I was a child … a voice which comes to me and always forbids me to do something which I am going to do, but never commands me to do anything, and this is what stands in the way of my being a politician. For I am certain, O men of Athens, that if I had engaged in politics, I should have perished long ago and done no good either to you or to myself … for the truth is that no man who goes to war with [the state] or any other multitude honestly struggling against the commission of unrighteousness will save his life; he who will really fight for the right must have a private [personal?] station and not a public [collective?] one. [You must think for yourself as an individual.]

    "Wherefore, O judges [of the state], be of good cheer [as you sentence me to] death, and know this of a truth - that no evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death. He and his are not neglected by the gods; nor has my own approaching end happened by mere chance.

    "Still I have a favor to ask. When my sons are grown up, I would ask you, O my friends, to punish them; and I would have you trouble them, as I have troubled you, if they seem to care about riches, or anything, more than about virtue; or if they pretend to be something when they are really nothing, - then reprove them, as I have reproved you, for not caring about that for which they ought to care. And if you do this, I and my sons will have received justice at your hands."