Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Public Education Reform and Me

I read this article today, and it really rang my bell. It's called Seven Reasons Why I Really Dislike Public Education Reform. It's short. Read it. And welcome to my world.

I do have a few issues with #6 in the article because I'm a neck-bowed Hawkeye (I don't know what that actually means... ask Meredith Willson), and Iowa is the only remaining state to keep local control of curriculum, but I have to face facts... that's fading fast with Iowa Core and Common Core and all the other jargon I'll try not to bore you with.

If you read ANYTHING in that article, read #3. It sums up my frustrations. Exactly. Please read #3. Can you read #3? Here's the link to the article again so you can read #3.

And, if that isn't disturbing enough to you, read #4. Read it. Did you read it? Are you disturbed?

Last year, I read Donalyn Miller's book called The Book Whisperer, and I had an epiphany about my teaching. A life-changing epiphany. I realized that despite my passion for reading, I was screwing up how my students felt about reading. I was trying to hold my students accountable by having them complete weekly reading logs, documenting the minutes they'd read during the week. Reading The Book Whisperer was like a mallet to my skull. Here's the epiphany: I had been asking my students to lie. Yes, LIE. I had created an assignment that was basically asking them to lie to me every week. There was not a single student who said they had never lied when I asked about it. Not a single one. Not even my dearest, sweetest, teacher-pleasers. They were reading, but when it came to the documentation, they were lying about it. Flat out lying about it. Notice a problem with this system? I needed to change! I chucked those reading logs, and I revamped my system to make a more meaningful way for us all to think about reading. It's not perfect (in fact, its WAY more work for me), but it's SO SO SO SO much better.

Hello, Education Reform?!?!?! Anyone there? You've created a system that asks schools to lie! Schools are desperate, and it's creating ugly results.

In the past 10 years or so, this is what's been happening in education. I love my job. I love teaching. I love teachers. I love school. But... it's not easy right now.

I'll stop ranting. But this is a great article. Did you read it yet? If you're a parent, a teacher, a student, a tax-payer, well... basically if you're a breathing human, I think it pertains to you. Here it is once more in case you actually haven't read it yet.

Read it.

1 comment:

  1. Tena, I love reading your blog; so, I've nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Awards! You can pick up your prize badge at my blog; then keep the nomination train moving! :)


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