Friday, January 04, 2013

Ed Etc.

The LAUSD school board is under assault.

With "friends" like AFT head Randi Weingarten, teachers don't need enemies.

Education used to be a whole lot better when teachers were treated as professionals and students were not considered "data points" and test-taking automatons:

In that earlier era, I taught in four high schools. They differed — rural, urban, rich, poor, big, small — but on certain measures, they were alike.

In all four, my professional judgment was respected. I was free to capitalize on what educators call “teachable moments,” free to make use of local issues, free to appropriately pace instruction, free to experiment with alternative approaches, free to adapt to a class’s distinctive “personality.” And probably most importantly, I was free from mandates directing me to try to standardize kids. That meant I could deal differently with them, could, for example, know who was most likely to be reading scholarly articles 10, 20, 30 years down the road and steer them appropriately.

Second, all the schools offered more elective classes than are now available. Freedom to adapt their schedules to their interests and abilities put fewer kids in classes in which they held back those future readers of scholarly articles.

Third, no test-based, stress-creating fog of fear permeated the four schools. The usual, sometimes-stupid policies that came down from state departments of education (often stemming from some powerful state legislator’s whim), could be ignored without threatening loss of professional reputation or job.


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