Monday, December 10, 2012
Could This Be True?
It reads like an Onion piece. Catcher in the Rye and To Kill A Mockingbird replaced by Recommended Levels Of Insulation?
Who could be responsible for such nonsense?
The new educational standards have the backing of the influential National Governors' Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, and are being part-funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
OK, Governors... Right. They certainly know pedagogy, developmental neurology and the adolescent mind. And the Gates Foundation is no doubt full of "educational reformers" that broad class of professional busybodies who have perfected nothing so much as the suckling off the teat of private charities. The Council of Blah Blah Blah is a bit more mystifying, in that these are school officials. Of course, they aren't TEACHERS anymore. They are the people who perfected politics enough to get out of the classroom.
Interest is essential in education. We are certainly seeing that in Thing One. When he's interested in something he learns it. When he isn't interested, forget about it. My job as a teacher, ultimately, is to make my subjects and the skills that attend that subject interesting to teenagers.
How the hell do you commodify reading? That's not something you can fake. Nothing glazes over a child's eyes faster than the words "required reading". The best you can hope for is to select a book that will interest them.
Tonight we went to Thing Two's Christmas Concert. I suppose when you send your kid to a private school in the foothills of Litchfield County, Connecticut, you shouldn't be surprised if every song is "White Christmas" if you know what I mean. There was maybe one kid up there that doesn't need to wear SPF30 in April.
But what he's losing in cultural, economic and racial diversity he's getting back in not having some BS educational fad shoved down his throat. He's reading the book he wants to read. And he can't put it down.
And it's not Recommended Levels of Insulation if you were wondering.