Jewish World Review Nov. 11, 2002 / 8 Kislev, 5763
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | When Alan Coleman, a sixth-grade teacher in Washington, D.C., posts a student's work on the bulletin board, he's supposed to display with it the performance standard it meets, writes Jay Mathews in the Washington Post.
It's not just students who don't understand it. It means nothing to me, and I’ve been wading through ed jargon for years now. What "documents" is the standard talking about? What’s the function of the word "functional" or the context of "institutional context?"
The grammar is a mystery too. I think it should be "documents that identify," but others make a case for "variety" or even "familiarity" as the subject. It’s impossible to parse gibberish.
NO APPLES FOR THE NEW TEACHER
Allen Reece started Apple a Day to chronicle his first year as a Teach for America middle-school teacher in Baton Rouge, La. Reece is exhausted, frustrated and isolated.
Reece wrote the assistant superintendent asking why teachers were entrusted with children, but not with a key. He asked about the inkless printers too.
He was told that if teachers got keys, 4,000 staff members would have access to the building, endangering its valuable assets. That apparently refers to every employee of the district, though why they’d all want keys to Reece’s middle school was unexplained.
Copying supplies are on order, the administrator wrote, adding a warning against "excessive use of duplicating paper. An abundance of worksheets is a no-no."
Reece was moved to sarcasm:
Teach for America recruits "the best and the brightest" college graduates to fill teaching slots in troubled schools. I know a woman who was assigned to a large, out-of-control Los Angeles high school. She couldn’t get a key to the faculty restroom for four months. Finally, a union steward slipped her a key as a reward for criticizing the administration in a staff meeting.
Why is it so hard for public schools to hire and retain smart people? Because they treat them like idiots.
Education's moral relativists have been having a field day since the Sept. 11 attacks, writes Josie Appleton in Spiked.
Megan Boler, a professor in the "social foundations of education" at Virginia Polytechnic, encountered a student who said that "America has done more than any other nation in the twentieth century to ensure the spread of freedom and democracy around the world." He also wasn't keen on America haters. The professor and a colleague diagnosed "defensive anger," writing that the student "had constructed a 'patriotic self,' which was key to his own identity and his relationship with others." They prescribed the "pedagogy of discomfort," which means persuading the student that the root cause of his patriotism is anger and fear. Only haters love their country.
I think this means that students should learn that it's OK for American citizens to fight in the enemy's army. But don't get your identity tattooed on your body politic 'cause then you're stuck with it.
I wonder what goes first for education professors: Is it the ability to write English or the ability to think?
By a two-to-one margin, Massachusetts voters adopted an initiative requiring English immersion classes for students who aren't proficient in English. But bilingual education boosters defeated a similar initiative in Colorado; 56 percent voted "no."
A Colorado billionaire's $3 million donation funded a last-minute pro-bilingual advertising blitz that played on white parents' fears.
The Rocky Mountain News interviewed the ad men behind the pro-bilingual campaign. Their strategy: Don't mention bilingual education. Instead, raise fears of "Chaos in the Classroom."
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11/04/02: Why go to college? Why test schools?