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Firing Teachers Won't Improve U.S. Education
Judging by responses to a recent NPR report on a lawsuit to make it easier to fire California teachers, many members of the public seem to see public school teachers as a species of self-sacrificing missionaries dedicated to acting as surrogate parents to every child who enters their classroom.
The Testing Opt-Out Movement
Parents and teachers distressed by the effect of ever-increasing state-mandated standardized testing of younger and younger children are at the heart of a grassroots movement to resist what they see as a mindless process that has little to do with education or the mental well-being of children.
Criticism of Reform Not Welcome
Top-tier reformers like Arne Duncan and state superintendents don't want to listen to the valid criticisms of parents, principals, and teachers. They meet complaints by taking the high ground, equating their untried, testing-heavy education reforms with the moral struggle for civil rights.
Educational Goals vs U.S. Culture
Efforts at school reform without an overhaul of U.S. cultural priorities are pie in the sky.
Beware of smoke and mirror reasoning fostered by entrepreneurs whose principal agenda is the discrediting of the public schools and the rechanneling of public monies into the private business sector.
Parents in the Classroom
Should parents have the option of sitting in on lessons in the public school classroom?
School and the Real World
One of the most annoying expressions that I hear educators use is "the real world," as if school existed in some kind of Never-Never Land. School IS the real world, and it ought to have real world consequences.
Informational Texts vs Fiction
Parents and English teachers need to resist the propaganda regarding the reading and teaching of fictional literature that comes attached to every presentation of the Common Core Standards.
No More Free High School
Call me heartless, but I think the solution to U.S. educational woes is to pull the plug on providing 12-13 years of free education to every child who crosses the public school threshold at the age of five or six.
Impulse Control Lacking in Modern Youth
One of the stated goals of the Common Core Standards is to encourage “student-directed learning.” A possible obstacle to classrooms filled with self-directed, internally motivated students is the fact that children's ability to self-regulate has declined steeply in the past 60 years.
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