Morning Round-up January 10, 2006

In Testing for Gifted Programs, a Few Knots NYT
A new admissions process for highly coveted gifted-and-talented programs in the New York City elementary schools has been riddled with glitches, including last-minute notice of entrance exam dates in some areas.

Hearing on school takeover by mayor set
A state appeals court panel Tuesday scheduled an April hearing for Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's lawyers to defend an invalidated law that would have given the mayor substantial authority over the Los Angeles public schools.

School choices satisfy, study says
JS Online
University of Colorado researchers are issuing a report that says low-income parents in Milwaukee are happy with the range of choices they have for their children. The report also says those parents select schools in ways that aren't much different from higher-income parents elsewhere.


Anonymous D Wakefield said...

On December 14, 2006, the New Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce unveiled Tougher Choices or Tougher Times, a report calling for the biggest changes in the American education system in a century. Look for this report to influence legislation because it has the financial backing of corporate America. The report recommends federalization, schools run as businesses, and more “accountability” (i.e., tests). The failure of this influential group to realize that schools reflect communities means Tougher Choices or Tougher Times is off-base and addresses a symptom, not the actual ailment. The key indicator for “failing” schools is the community’s average earned income. The problem is not schools, teachers, or curriculum, but community socio-economic indicators. Schools in rural Georgia don’t prepare many nuclear scientists because the majority of jobs (and parents) are in textile mills, pulp mills, and poultry farms. Mysteriously, communities with upwardly mobile, intellectual, socio-economically advantaged residents tend to have similar schools.

For generations teachers have maximizing individual potential and planted seeds for upward socio-economic mobility—emphasizing an education of the head, heart, and hands. All communities need innovative problem solvers, public servants, and diligent workers. The current notion that “smarter” test-savvy graduates will solve our nation’s ills is foolish. Educating head, heart, and hands—academics, arts, and athletics—will yield a far better society than Tougher Choices or Tougher Times. Our nation has risen to greatness through innovative problem-solvers in a free market—a place where invention and providing a better product pays off. Cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all, standards-based schools that equate and education to standardized test scores are the anti-thesis of what America needs.

Tougher Choices or Tougher Times appears to have no teacher fingerprints on it at all. Teachers have become America’s “whipping boy”. Once the last child-centered teachers are “flogged” out of the system, what will be left? I can’t help but think the New Commission of the Skills of the American Workforce would condemn schooling altogether if they could figure out how to insert a memory chip or program industry standards into children. I foresee disenchanted “industrial drone” graduates who are overweight and aesthetically clueless, or, rebellious drop-outs in pursuit of the American Dream.

Today’s educational landscape makes me wonder where one has to go to find the profession I entered three decades ago—you know, the one with locally governed, community-based, child-centered, liberal arts embracing schools where teachers tried to maximize each student’s potential. The kind of schools that prepared our nation’s best and brightest, as well as toughest and most dependable, for global ascendance, cutting-edge technological development, and a shot at success for anyone who wanted to make the effort.

11:34 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home