Tuesday, January 25, 2011

State of the Onion

I can't watch the State of the Union (or as Ben says, onion) silently. I can't do it.

But! This is not about the State of the Onion address, because I missed most of it while we were at a panel discussion and then while I was making ravioli when we got home because I was starving.

Today's actual topic is the panel discussion that Ben and I went to on men of color, primarily African American men, in education.

Nothing astoundingly profound was said, mostly stuff that we all already know, but I thought I'd reiterate some of the things that I agree with here.

- It takes a village.
Of course it does. Mostly, their point (and btw, the panel consisted of the Superintendent of Phila, a teacher, a principal, etc) was that if everybody cared for other kids as much as they care for their own, we could convince these kids that school is important. A kid that has one person that cares about their education will be more successful than one that has no one.

- Early childhood education
The super really stressed this, and for the most part I think she's right. If we're letting children leave third grade without basic reading and math skills, they will not succeed. It's nearly impossible to bridge the achievement gap after third grade, and you get 20 year old seniors that are for all intents and purposes illiterate. Fact: children learn the most at a young age.
Why not utilize this information.

I'd like to add that we need administrators who won't push kids through to push papers. If they're failing, fail them.

I missed this because I was counting crochet stitches on my hat, but Ben said that the principal of the charter school was subtly all about getting rid of "the system."
He was in charge of his charter school, and he took responsibility for getting to know the kids, and making sure that they were provided with a well rounded education, which included ARTS, as well as sports, and academics, and just generally making sure that his kids were turning into good people, without answering to the school district of Philadelphia.

Amen. I vote get rid of that system, because clearly, it doesn't work.
We need more TRULY ALTERNATIVE schools. Montessori schools, etc.

And finally, most importantly, the super quoted a sign that hangs on a teacher's door.

"If they can't learn the way I teach, I will teach the way they learn."

Yes, you will. Because that's your job as a teacher.

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