HE IS A CHILD
We’re focusing on the wrong thing…instead of focusing on “rigorous” (aka inappropriate) “college and career ready” standards for preschoolers and kindergarteners (and first graders…second graders…etc) we ought to be focusing on appropriate curriculum for children.
The more I watch the following video, the more I’m convinced that it describes the sort of public education system we need…for all children.
Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer said,
My child is not “college and career ready” because HE IS A CHILD…No six year old should be on the losing end of equal educational opportunity..
SEPARATE AND UNEQUAL
Every child deserves the same high quality education that Bill Gates had at Lakeside School or Arne Duncan had at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. They attended schools which were well resourced, had music, and the arts, and a full academic curriculum. They were taught by highly qualified, well-trained teachers, not temps drilled in 5 week cram sessions.
Do we care enough about the future of our nation to ensure that all our children are well educated?
Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer wrote,
Every child should have a school that has enough nurses, social workers, guidance counselors, gym teachers, art teachers, music teachers, librarians, small class sizes, electives, hands-on projects, science experiments, theater, band. Every child.
POVERTY MATTERS, STILL
While the rich men and women in congress argue about how high the minimum wage ought to be…virtually no one says anything about how poverty impacts achievement. That’s because, as charter and vouchers schools are discovering, the school has only a small impact on a child’s achievement compared to outside factors mostly having to do with poverty.
If politicians acknowledged the role poverty played in student achievement they’d have to do something about it…
A Teacher Anon wrote,
The problem, in terms of academic achievement as measured by invalid tests, is poverty. Period. Why that elephant continues to be ignored is obvious. If not ignored, then that would mean politicians would have to do something about it.
Krashen sounds the alarm as he has done over and over…and over and over…again for years. The problem is poverty.
Stephen Krashen wrote,
When researchers control for the effect of poverty, our performance on international tests is at the top of the world. Poverty means poor diet, inadequate health care, and lack of access to books: All of these have devastating effects on school performance. The best teaching and strongest exhortations to work hard have little effect when students are hungry, ill, and have nothing to read.
WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH INDIANA?
In Indiana the “reform” is so blatantly pro-privatization that, aside from forgiving loans to failed charter schools and expanding the most expansive voucher program in the country, Indiana Republicans now want to let voucher schools off the hook on the state test.
The Indiana Senate Education Committee passed a bill (which still needs to be voted on by the entire legislature) which would allow private schools who accept state vouchers (aka tax money) which would allow them to ignore ISTEP and to take instead “another nationally recognized and norm referenced assessment” of their own choice.
Now, I agree that the state test, ISTEP, is inadequate, under-validated, and in general a total waste of time. Still, if schools get tax money shouldn’t they be held to the same “standard?” Apparently not…
Peter Greene wrote,
On February 11, the Senate Education Committee gave the okay to a bill that would exempt voucher schools from taking the same assessment as public schools. In fact, the voucher schools can just go ahead and create a test of their own. It is remarkable that the State of Indiana has not just closed all public schools, dumped all the education money in a giant Scrooge McDuck sized vault, and sold tickets to just go in a dive around in it…This is a state that really hates its public schools.
NOTE: As of this printing SB470 has been pulled. State Senator Scott Schneider killed his own bill. The comments above, however, still reflect the preference that the Governor and the majority in the General Assembly have for private and privately owned charter schools.
Masson’s Blog wrote,
So, because people had an emotional opposition to Common Core and we have a slavish devotion to standardized tests that don’t do much to educate our kids, the State of Indiana is going to use my kids and their instructional time to vet its new test questions. Super…These tests don’t do a thing to educate my kids, and now they will spend more time doing them. I suspect their time would be better spent playing Minecraft.
THE DAMAGE CAUSED BY HIGH STAKES TESTS
James Boutin wrote,
I remember proctoring a test a few years ago during which students who’d recently arrived from the Dominican Republic could not explain why the main character in a reading passage would live in someone’s yard, and subsequently answered most of the questions associated with the passage incorrectly. It was because they didn’t know that, in the United States, Rover is nearly always a dog’s name. However, the test didn’t consider that that might be an issue.
…AND MISUSE OF TESTS
Masson’s Blog wrote,
If the test is early in the year, it can be used as a tool for the teacher to help the teacher understand a student’s strengths and weaknesses. If the test is late in the year, the state is basically just using my kid as a tool to measure the teacher — based, I might add, on sketchy metrics. (“Don’t worry about what you’re measuring, just give me a number!”)
Lynn Shoemaker said,
The only thing these grades tell us is where the poor children go to school and where the rich children go to school,..It doesn’t reflect the fewer classroom teacher assistants or the enormous class sizes that lack basic resources like textbooks and desks…
AT PUBLIC EXPENSE
In the Movie Annie, Miss Hannigan said,
Why any kid would want to be an orphan is beyond me.
It wouldn’t surprise me to hear a politician someday say something similar about “why any kid would want to grow up in poverty…”
Remember Mitt Romney’s comment…
I want to make sure that we keep America a place of opportunity where everyone has a fair shot…they get a…they get as much education as they can afford…
Having people get “as much education as they can afford” isn’t enough. We need a fully funded, publicly accountable, system of public schools serving every child. John Adams wrote,
“The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.”
The narrow pursuit of test results has sidelined education issues of enduring importance such as poverty, equity in school funding, school segregation, health and physical education, science, the arts, access to early childhood education, class size, and curriculum development. We have witnessed the erosion of teachers’ professional autonomy, a narrowing of curriculum, and classrooms saturated with “test score-raising” instructional practices that betray our understandings of child development and our commitment to educating for artistry and critical thinking. And so now we are faced with “a crisis of pedagogy”–teaching in a system that no longer resembles the democratic ideals or tolerates the critical thinking and critical decision-making that we hope to impart on the students we teach.