Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Whaddaya Know? OR Who dreads back to school more? Teachers or students?

It's springtime! Over the next few hours, days, weeks... colorful sprouts will be emerging from their summertime cocoons and make the annual migrations back to school.

Since it's that time of year once again, I thought it would be a good time to review our progress or lack thereof. Got your school supply list? Have you dutifully delved the special section at the local Mega-store? #2 Pencils, Batman Dark Knight backpack or Hannah Montana, lunchbox, 12 college-ruled spiral notebooks, three boxes of tissues, index cards, paints, 2 composition books, pens, 16 1" binder rings, color-coded binders, folders, assignment notebook?


Jumbotron NCLB scoreboard? Scorecard?

Why isn't education an exact science already? What is it that prevents near universal agreement on what should be taught and how? How has the move to testing as the definitive measure affected teaching?

When all is said and done, does meeting an arbitrary minimum level of pre-ordained "knowledge" correlate to being educated? Do our, generally agreed upon, failing schools impart other necessary information to students as they pass through the system?

Once detached from the system how do students begin to apply what they've learned? Do students, on the trailing edge of advancement, benefit from age group progression through the "grades"? At what point does a student who falls behind realize his/her position and accept that his/her education is not likely to experience a surge that will make up lost ground and get them back in the race?

How many students does it take, having learned their position and projected worth within the existing system, to disrupt and derail the textbook teaching/learning model for the rest of the school? Are their behaviors a way to get even? Is it a survival tactic? Are they just doing their part to level the playing field?

How much does insistence on a one-size-fits-all model, with widely differing resources, management, facilities and populations, impact the ability of schools and teachers to connect with individual students on their needed level of instruction?

Hey, I'm no expert on education. But I've come to almost admire and appreciate the surrealistic, unrealistic, localized, nationalized marketing of such an important individual process rendered into an easy to apply salve with some mind-numbing side-effects.

My measure of our educational system's effectiveness is not as complicated as NCLB.
There are not roving hordes of pirates, warlords and trogs murdering, pillaging, raping and burning our landscapes, towns and villages. The sprinters and show-ponies, the trotters and marathoners and yes, even the sloths, goths, stoners and lizards co-exist in near-universal harmony chasing down their ideals.

Good luck and godspeed.


Guiseppe Adorno said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The Man sells, and takes yer sheckels.

Phooked, by design.

No way Back To School should drain pockets.

No. Way. Just tell yer kids NO for dawg's sake!