Day 5: Regrouping after meeting and lots of links to share

Dear Readers,

It’s day 5 of the WordCount Blogathon 2013. I’m not gonna lie, it’s been a real challenge to post every day so far.  But, I’m humbled and grateful for the incredible support I’m receiving from you: new subscribers,  old timers, bloggers, friends, family, colleagues, teachers and parents. It’s great to get your feedback. Every good word you send me helps a whole lot and gives me energy to push forward. Thank you!

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Still working on reading through the latest draft plan and attempting to understand it.

From the current Strategic Plan Draft for our district, first page, Core Beliefs:

  • Challenging all students by providing academic rigor is essential to student success
  • All children, regardless of socio-economic circumstances can be high achieving students
  • Academic achievement gaps can and will be eliminated

There’s more. Let’s just think about those top three beliefs for a moment. This  wonderful blog from a teacher  addresses these  issues really well.

And this piece from Salon.

And this.

I’m  sick and tired of the ongoing dismissal of the many out of school factors that contribute to a child’s “success” or “achievement” at school. I’m always happy to see articles that debunk the reformers theories about “achievement” and “gaps.”

There’s big disparity between the rich and the poor. They live  at opposite ends of a spectrum,  in some places within a few blocks of one another. They might as well be worlds apart. To dismiss these factors  is to dismiss  reality. Children shouldn’t be   tested or assessed as if that is the solution or way out of this problem. The children have not created or caused their situation. Their parents want the best for them, just like the parents in the mansions want the best for their children. Just like the people in the modest  family homes do, too. The size and type of our houses doesn’t define how much we love our children.

It’s as if the system is punishing our most vulnerable population for circumstances beyond their control. But the business model being implemented dictates testing, measuring, assessing and rigorous standards, high expectations for all, uniformity, conformity, rigidity and from that we will have ACHIEVEMENT and SUCCESS and COLLEGE AND CAREER READY. They  tell us this is the  way, but it isn’t the right way. It is the absolute wrong way.

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Maybe one day in America, we’ll understand what has been done here. Blaming and then hurting the poor,  the sick,  seniors,  children,  women,  the middle class,  teachers,  unions, heck everyone —-except the greedy, rich, super powerful billionaires who are behind all this; along with the politicians  they  party with  on  yachts and in  super sized homes with marble countertops imported from Italy, while the rest of us citizens try to save our schools from  ruination. We make lunches on   laminate counters we’re happy to have because we have food to cut on the cutting board that we set down upon these very counters and which we take out of our fridge which is from the previous century, and (gasp) not stainless. How do we manage it? Oh, the horror of a non updated kitchen.

But I digress.

Read some of the greats: Diane Ravitch (and also visit The Network for Public Education), Jersey Jazzman, Mother Crusader, and Mark Naison.

The Learning Revolution Project gives me hope —many people are looking for a different future in education.

And this work at Mission Hill reminds me what is possible, and this chapter is about authentic assessments. Lots of talk about assessments here. Tests, tests, and more tests.

Let me leave you with this lovely bit on creativity and imagination.

I’ll stop there for now. Lots of info. Lots of work ahead.

Time for bed. Good dreams.

Love and peace,

Elana

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