A Shrewdness of Apes

An Okie teacher banished to the Midwest. "Education is not the filling a bucket but the lighting of a fire."-- William Butler Yeats

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Bring out your dead!

Critics of American public schools keep wanting to declare the death of public education, no matter how much we protest that we are still breathing:

Yes, it's that time again, when the test results mandated by NCLB come rolling over schools like a tsumani. And here's the shocker: about half the schools in our state did not make AYP.

The language of NCLB is laden with the pithiest of platitudes:

All children can learn.
Standards must be kept high.
No student should drop out of school.

All children CAN learn. The question is, WILL they when society tells them it is useless and that they are passive recipients rather than active participants in the process? When society tells them that people who like to learn are nerds or dweebs or geeks, socially inept twitchy wallflowers?

Unfortunately, the standards usually are not kept high in service to the third statement. Or am I just grumpy?

All I've got to say is, I'm fine, really!



At 9/2/09, 12:20 PM, Anonymous S. Harris said...

I am glad to see that someone else has noticed the holistic problem of educational performance. I recall about a year or two ago seeing how in South Korea the entire country, from television shows to grocery stores to video games, dedicated time and energy to teaching all children their multiplication tables. If politicians want students to find their education relevant, then the entire culture has to make it relevant. Part of the problem is that it has become accepted that the argument for schools is more about being able to get a job than it is about becoming a certain reflective kind of person. As a result, the curriculum becomes too top heavy. Once you have mastered some basic skills, you are quite able to take on a service job or one requiring manual labor. The rest: reading Shakespeare, discussing the California Gold Rush of 1849, calculus, etc. are all pointless unless they are tied down to specific job requirements in a growing number of students’ minds.

At 9/2/09, 8:24 PM, Blogger brian said...

It's often other children who tell them that "acting smart" is uncool, unhip-I've even heard a black child taunted for "acting too white".

At 9/3/09, 5:18 PM, Blogger Magical Mystical Teacher said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9/3/09, 5:19 PM, Blogger Magical Mystical Teacher said...

You have every right to be grumpy, as do all of us who labor under the platitudes of NCLB and others that are thrown our way.

At 9/3/09, 10:16 PM, Blogger Polski3 said...

The testing demon does not seem to be going away. For many, it is a bitter pill to chew on while waiting retirement. For the rest of us, as we should have been taught in Ed. classes, and for survivals sake, we learn to be flexible. We just keep bending and bending and bending.....some do break, others just outbend Gumby and Pokey.

If this sounds a bit weird, whale, I'm tired. Of lots of things. But I have a job teaching and every day, I do my best to teach my students. Such is life.

Mz C., have a restful Labor Day Weekend !


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