Children who play with piles of Legos, inventing and building as they wish, exhibit far more long-term creativity than children who build things from Lego kits. Rearranging Legos from a messy pile is a better learning experience than working from a kit with directions (unless you're in a hurry and hope to use the finished Lego product as a household appliance).
Education is not about being taught more and more reasons about why we alone are right and everyone else is wrong. Rather, it is a process of being given more and more air, a wider perspective that affords us a grander, more Olympian sweep of everything.
For kids who are intelligent in different ways, who develop more slowly, or who are sensitive or quirky, the educational system has been especially ineffective. Many such folks find their way outside of, or in spite of, school, but the system has always served them poorly.
As a big-picture thinker, I have an obsession with asking why -- one of the worst questions that you can ask within the school system, because no one actually knows the answer.
While ensuring students' physical safety is a school's first order of priority, the school should be no less vigilant in safeguarding them from propaganda that will assail them for the rest of their lives.
In my last post, where I posited that high-quality trade books, like those in the picture, have a hard time getting into classrooms, several people challenged me: Where did I get my information?
Real education reform will come when, and only when, we address poverty, fund schools properly and honor the teaching profession with good pay and the respect teachers deserve. America's teachers will do the rest - if we leave them alone to love and teach their children.
Education is not a game. It should be a rich, cooperative, loving process. Holleran and Worrell-Breeden are just two vivid, painful examples of the consequences of seeing education as a data-driven, competitive enterprise.
No other advanced nation in the world evaluates its teachers on test scores or subjects it children to relentless testing and calls it "education"! Why, then, does America? The answer is simple -- there's money in it!
Through the union, educators are raising our collective voice. Together with parents and students, educators are turning the tide. Teaching is our heart. Our students are our soul. And the union is our spine. When educators raise their voice and their power, we can reclaim the promise of public education.
Teachers, of course, can lead the way, not toward some false utopia embodied in the privatizing, anti-union, agenda of the testing moguls but in education's humanistic roots -- providing young people with multiple pathways to success.
With the reauthorization of the absurd and dysfunctional NCLB, we have a chance to once again let teachers teach and let students learn. We have a chance to ignite their imaginations, encourage them to reach their full potential, and expand their world view beyond filling in bubble tests with a #2 pencil.
The new SAT is not a bad test, but it is not yet polished. Given its numerous similarities to the ACT, therefore, students currently heading into their junior years will find the ACT a more reliable option for prep work.
By refusing to take into account several factors which impede student learning and over which teachers have no control, this policy is, in essence, a punitive measure, a political weapon, a pre-emptive strike against teachers, intended to demoralize and drive them out of the teaching profession.
Schools need to reframe failure. School should be the safe place where students learn to fail. Where they learn to ask questions, search for answers, make mistakes, course correct and try again. If you don't learn to fail in school, where will you learn.
NYC's Department of Education (DOE) has been working hard under this new administration to encourage family engagement and to help build stronger bonds between families and schools.