Some call it progress…

  1. Thanks to President Bush’s No Child Left Behind, compounded by Obama’s $4.35 billion Race to the Top and Common Core State Standards, preschoolers are being taught to read, so they’re all ready for kindergarten, aka the “new first grade.” Nancy Bailey writes that, as a result, they “miss listening and speaking skills, precursors to reading. These skills are developed through play, which leads to interest in words and a reason they want to read…”
  2. Politicians in a turn-around are now introducing legislation requiring schools to offer more playtime for young students. Research continues to confirm that unstructured play time results in greater creativity and problem-solving skills, less disruptive behavior, and promote important such important social lessons as how to resolve disputes. Remember: The CDC differentiates phys ed classes from “unstructured physical activity and play,” recommending at least 20 minutes of recess every day at the elementary level.
  3. With politically mandated standards and excessive standardized testing, 77% of respondents to an EdPulse survey said that students either don’t get quite enough or nowhere near enough physical activity and exercise each day. Just 26% said they get “just enough,” while a mere 6% said they get “more than enough.”
  4. A report from Purdue University’s Gifted Education Research and Resource Institute, has found that, while 3.3 million public school children have been identified as being gifted, even more-3.6 million, have been overlooked. At the same time, in the name of progress, New York City and Seattle are considering eliminating gifted education altogether “due to racial discrimination and inequality in gifted programs.
  5. In 2019, five states have mandated that LGBTQ history be taught in their public schools. They are New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, Colorado, and Oregon. California was the first, doing so back in 2011.
  6. Thanks to the Common Core Standards and tech in our classrooms, teaching cursive writing was replaced with keyboarding instruction. But now comes Wisconsin state Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt, a Republican and former teacher, who reminds us that, “The process of writing cursive is better for young minds. It stretches their minds beyond the simple printing and certainly beyond the tapping of the keyboard.” He’s now sponsored a bill in the state Assembly mandating cursive writing in the state’s elementary schools. Stay tuned.
  7. Many teachers have discovered that the materials offered on lesson-sharing sites are of poor quality, and this has been confirmed in a recent Thomas B. Fordham Institute report. Of the more than 300 resources reviewed from ReadWriteThink, Share My Lesson, and Teachers Pay Teachers 64% received an overall rating of very poor or mediocre.
    ** ReadWriteThink offers free, peer-reviewed English/language arts lessons and is managed by the prestigious International Literacy Association and National Council of Teachers of English.
    ** Share My Lesson, also a free site, is from the American Federation of Teachers
    ** Teachers Pay Teachers is a for-profit marketplace where former and current teachers sell lessons or list them at no charge
  8. Sixth grade English/language arts teacher Shannon Burgess filed a lawsuit last summer “claiming that the Cherokee County School District required her to pay for necessary school supplies out of her own pocket and work for free at after-school events.” Her lawsuit is open to all South Carolina teachers who want to join in. According to national data, 94% of public school teachers spend their own money on school supplies without reimbursement—on average $479.

And there you go…