"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Monday, April 6, 2009

Thoughts...

Some answers to current questions in Education. I posted these in larger comments on the Americans United for Separation of Church and State blog.

Private schools vs Public schools
Public schools have to educate everyone. Private schools have the option of exiting students who are more expensive to teach. The fact that Public school students do as well as private school students with this extra burden says something about our public education system.

Competition as a way to "improve" schools
As someone said earlier, children are not shoes…business concepts do not necessarily work in education. Expecting “competition” between schools to increase achievement implies that somehow teachers, administrators and school boards are not “trying hard enough” to educate children. Spend a day at any public school in the country and you’ll see the vast majority of public school teachers busting their butts to get kids to learn.

Overidentification of Learning Disabilities
Too many kids are labeled learning disabled? Maybe if there was enough money to fund adequate staffing people wouldn’t resort to labels to “get more money.” The school I work in has one half time interventionist outside of the special education teachers - me. How can I help all the students who need help in a school of 500 on 4 hours a day. At best I see students twice a week for about a half hour. In a K-6 elementary school I focus on first and second grades since catching and helping kids early works better than “fixing” them later, but there’s not enough time…not enough help…

Minority students overidentified for Special Education
Too many minority children are labeled learning disabled. That’s absolutely true. One reason is that the level of poverty for minorities in this country is higher than for the majority. Poverty is a direct cause of “learning disabilities.” Poor pre-natal care…poor infant care…inadequate diets…literacy poor environments…all contribute to students beginning school at a disadvantage. “When people have said ‘poverty is no excuse,’ my response has been, ‘Yes, you’re right. Poverty is not an excuse. It’s a condition. It’s like gravity. Gravity affects everything you do on the planet. So does poverty.’” - Gerald Bracey

National Standards...everyone on the same page at the same time
Every child is different…and not every child learns the same thing the same way and at the same speed.

Standardized tests
A child is more than a test score, and success in school should not be measured by test scores alone.

Impact of a teacher
A teacher can touch you in ways you can’t begin to imagine and many probably helped you in ways you did not even realize and don’t remember.

Bad teachers...good teachers
Not every teacher is best for every student. Even the best teacher will have students they cannot reach. Even the worst teacher can make a difference in the life of a child.

Everyone's an expert in education
Most adults remember their school years through the eyes and memory of a child. As a parent, do you think your child understands the reason for everything you do? Do you think your child can see the logic behind all your actions? An adult’s memories of their school years are colored by their childhood.

No Child Left Behind
When Congress passes No Child Left Unfed, No Child Without Health Care and No Child Left Homeless, then we can talk seriously about No Child Left Behind.

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1 comment:

Meg said...

My brain is too fuzzy to adequately respond to all your points. However I am unfuzzy enough to recognize the truth in them.