Tips For Teachers

Documenting Classroom Management

How to Write Effective Progress Reports

Building Relational Trust

"Making Lessons Sizzle"

Marsha Ratzel: Taking My Students on a Classroom Tour

Marsha Ratzel on Teaching Math

David Ginsburg: Coach G's Teaching Tips

The Great Fire Wall of China

As my regular readers know, I am writing from China these days, and have been doing so four years so far. Sometimes the blog becomes inaccessible to me, making it impossible to post regularly. In fact, starting in late September 2014, China began interfering with many Google-owned entities of which Blogspot is one. If the blog seems to go dark for a while, please know I will be back as soon as I can get in again. I am sometimes blocked for many weeks at a time. I hope to have a new post up soon if I can gain access. Thank you for your understanding and loyalty.

Search This Blog

Friday, November 2, 2012

American Education is NOT Failing....

...In fact, it accomplishes its hidden curriculum perfectly, according to Danjo1987, who hits several out of the park his first day up to bat on EdWeek forums. hllnwlz wound up the pitch and effectively makes many of the same points.

If you have been following this blog, you know that last year I am the "parent" (from the school's point of view) for a particular child who is now an eighth grader. My kids are grown; still it has been instructive to observe her schoolwork and communicate with a school as a savvy teacher/parent. I have been reminded once again that schools really do not like interacting with savvy parents. When schools say they want parent involvement, what they usually mean is they want parents to bake cupcakes once in a while and make sure the student does the homework everyday. More than that, and you are stigmatized as a "helicopter parent."

Overall, the girl's teachers seem to be competent;a couple strike me as excellent. There is one teacher I simply cannot fathom. On the midterm progress report, this teacher gave this straight-A student a citizenship grade of "N" for "excessive absences" during a medical leave. Upon her return to class, she took a "diagnostic" test and got a "D." This is the student's only grade for the class, and the grade teacher put on the progress report. (The other teachers gave her "I" for incomplete).

For the past five weeks, apparently this teacher has done nothing gradable in class. At the close of the term last Friday, there was only one grade in the online system the school uses: that "D." The student's grade on the report card? C-. I am about to intervene.

Meanwhile, in her other classes, she often brings home homework that astound me with the easiness and triviality of it. I see the kind of homework I used to get as a second or third grader. For example, she has to write a little essay about a short story they read in English class. The first assignment is to analyze the writing prompt, write down the verbs that tell what the student is to do, etc. In eighth grade? And the requirements for the regular notebook checks are beyond ridiculous, but the school feels if they do not force the students to organize, none of them will. Apparently, they did not learn how to collect and organize their work in elementary school. The only reason she writes both her first and last name on papers is because I insisted she write a complete heading on each paper whether the teacher required it or not. "But I am the only one with my name," she complained. Does not matter.

What I see is a disjointed and inconsistent system characterized by low expectations, even as the adults give inordinate emphasis to test scores.

No comments:

Post a Comment