If Only the Public Knew How Things Really Work in Schools
If only the public knew how things really work in schools . . .
They would be so much more supportive of us! But we’re the only ones who can explain it to them. Here are two examples, one rather discouraging, the other more hopeful.
So in California, teachers are beginning to learn how “close reading” will be tested by the Smarter Balanced assessments. Anthony Cody shares a guest post by a teacher describing her growing dismay as a presenter stresses that students will be expected to analyze texts like the Gettysburg address without having any background knowledge about it. As an exercise, the participants are to analyze the “Little Miss Muffet” nursery rhyme, after which they’re told it was actually about Mary Queen of Scots — which would of course alter the entire meaning of the text. This is what we’re spending billions of taxpayer dollars on. And by the way, even David Coleman conceded that background knowledge was a good thing. But after his first condemnation of it, the test makers apparently never heard the retraction. Anyone want to comment?
Next up: Peter Smagorinsky responds, in the Atlanta Journal Constitution to the many online commenters who propose dealing with school budget cuts by eliminating everything but STEM subjects. Peter describes the power and success of an outstanding theater program and its teacher, Michelle Thorne, in Conyers, GA, and how essential it is to the students, the school culture and the whole community. One wondering, though: he sympathizes that budgets have to be cut, since funds are short. But I have to ask: in this recovering economy, why are education funds short, when the stock market is zooming? Anyone want to comment?
But if you comment, don’t just say it to Teachers Speak Up. Tell it to your community
Teacher advocacy, Teacher Voice