Saturday, November 19, 2011

About education (what else...?)

With direct instruction, focusing on standards, and test scores being held over our heads, I have let much of the creative, project based, and interesting parts of my last few years of teaching go. I am not happy about this and should be more of an outlier, but also worry about being labeled a poor teacher.

Nonetheless, I am still struggling on how to balance both of these approaches to education in the continually shrinking time that I have with students.

Some great posts about the decline of quality education through Race to The Top and Common Core can be found in this open letter to Bill Gates and this post about lack of innovation with scripted curriculum. Those of us who have been teaching for some time know the effects that standardized tests have had on eduction over the last decade. In the post, High Stakes Testing = Negative Effects..., great research is put together in a powerful post that shows we have been headed in the wrong direction and need to stop. And Vicki Davis likens Standardized Testing as Modern Day Bloodletting - love her posts! With all the research and those who are experts in education discussing this, when will those "making the decisions stop and listen? And when did we become a nation that stopped listening to the people who actually know what they are talking about (of course I am talking about anti-science and anti-education sentiment that seems to be sweeping the country.)

And then you have to be inspired by this post about a principal who has been working for 48 years and has the following quote about teaching kids:

She has outlasted more than a dozen schools chancellors, who made what she described as “little changes here and there,” and watched a student body dominated by the children of Italian immigrants transform into one that is 45 percent Asian-American and 18 percent Hispanic.

But as the city embarks on an overhaul of its middle schools, Mrs. Brennan believes that what works remains the same. Consistent rules and consequences. A dedicated, hard-working staff. A calendar stuffed with activities like a Shakespeare fair and an annual musical. Sincere care for your charges.

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