And as a few of you have noticed I have foamed at the mouth allowing steam to emit from my ears and have cried rivers of tears about those who want Educational Reform. I do not always use mellowed phrases or articulate logic. Most of the time I rant off at the mouth. I have been in this profession for forty-five years and have watched the reformers come and go. I apologize but I am passionate about our school systems and protective of our teachers. As I have stated a number of times, I cannot think of a profession that is so dedicated to the education of children and young adults as the teachers in this country of ours. In spite of being named the cause of all the problems in education, the teachers go on day in and day out teaching our kids and doing the best in spite of bureaucratic garbage such as "No Child Left Behind."
I have reframed in recent weeks about writing anything about the push to reform our educational systems.....although there have certainly been enough journalistic reports about this administration will push their ideas of educational reform. Yes, it does take a degree or two of restraint on my part and I am glad I have done so. My wife sent me a web address of someone who wrote far more articulate then I can or have. His name is Marian Brady and he has taught and written almost as long as I have. Before I proceed here is that web address: http://www.truthout.org/1110093 Please read it. If you are interested in improving education, this article points out some pitfalls from the past and does it a much more academic manner then I could do. Mr. Brady deserves our applause.
Mr. Brady includes in his article, 10 false assumptions about our educational systems. For example, in false assumption No. 1 he has a great line of which I wish I had written. "While it's true teachers can't choose their students, textbooks, working conditions, curricula, tests or the bureaucracies that circumscribe and limit their autonomy, they should be held fully accountable for poor student test scores." I can't tell you how many parents and critics of our educational system have blamed the teachers for unsatisfactory results. It is sad.
Somewhere in his article Mr. Brady contends that only those who have had 10,000 hours with students should be allowed to comment on how to improve our educational systems. YEEEESSSSSSS! Let's see now, at six hours a day for one hundred and let's say, twenty five days comes to seven hundred and fifty hours. That is for one year of teaching. Divide that into ten thousand hours and you get something along the lines of thirteen years. Now I could go along with that. People who have spend thirteen years in front of students I suspect know how to teach.
But the other big problem facing teachers is...."what should we be teaching our kids?" As Mr. Brady summed it up, this is where the rubber meets the road with the curriculum. So as a reader of this blog, let me give you an assignment--are you ready for this? What do you want a high school graduate (either male or female) to look like when they leave the k-12 system with their high school diploma. Okay parents, tell me what should your children learn. What of the affective domain (values) should they be responsible for at the end of twelve years? What of the cognitive domain (knowledge) should they be able to comprehend at the end of their schooling? And what of the psychomotor skills (physical skills) should they be able to perform twelve years from the beginning of school.
I'd like to see at least one school district put together a fairly large group of parents with a number of teachers for consultation and have them design the curriculum. As Marian says, no generals, no mayors, no CEOs with management skills, no one use to running a tight ship ought to be allowed in the room with these people. Let them come up with the end goal. "This is what we want our children to look like when they graduate from secondary school." Then let the professionals do their job.
Well, Mr. Brady. You wrote an excellent article on the problems facing our schools. I thank you. You're a real teacher.