Education Talk: 6/14/2015

June 15th, 2015

*** “Sure, it’s not perfect, but this Senate proposed rewrite of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) [aka No Child Left Behind] could do a lot of good–even if it includes some bad. Imagine it. States would be in control of their own public schools. The U.S. Department of Education and its appointed Secretary would lose much of their power to imposed unfunded federal mandates. For example, the federal government could no longer force states to tie teacher evaluations to student test scores. It could no longer force states to adopt Common Core or Common Core look-a like standards. It could no longer label high poverty schools “failing’ and then demand they be closed …”

*** “We ask teachers to be a combination of Albert Einstein, Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., and, I’m dating myself here, Tony Soprano. We ask them to be Mom and Dad and impart tough love but also a shoulder to lean on. And when they don’t do these things, we blame them for not being saviors of the world. What is the effect? The effect has been teachers are incredibly stressed out.” ~ Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT

*** “The NYS common core tests in math and ELA are leading to a trend that is ruining public education as we know it. Because they are linked to 50% of teacher evaluations, they are forcing teachers to teach to the test. Our children are learning that there is only one right answer to a question, they are being taught how to take a test, not to ask question, and science and social studies are disappearing from our children’s curriculum due to these high stakes tests that emphasize math and ELA [English/Language Arts].” ~ Heather Roberts, mother, in a letter to the New York Times

*** “We are really much too concerned with academics and testing for our 4- and 5-year-olds. We’re cutting off both physical and social development that ought to be leading us at that point. Sitting 4-year-old boys down and expecting them to keep still and listen–it ain’t in their nature. We’d do better with our boys if they were spending more time rushing about, pushing each other and shouting like boys need to do.” ~ Penelope Leach, British parenting guru and author

*** “Twenty years ago, kids in preschool, kindergarten, and even first and second grade spent much of their time playing: building with blocks, drawing or creating imaginary worlds, in their own heads or with classmates. But increasingly, these activities are being abandoned for the teacher-led, didactic instruction typically used in higher grades. In many schools, formal education now starts at age 4 or 5. Without this early start, the thinking goes, kids risk falling behind in crucial subjects, such as reading and math, and may never catch up. But a growing group of scientists, education researchers and educators say there is little evidence that this approach improves log-term achievement. In fact, it may have the opposite effect … ~ David Kohn, New York Times

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