Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Response to Response to Election Day Work Note

Here's my even sillier little response to a response made to my initial silly note about a schoolyard drama. It's gotten a little complicated by this point.

"I agree wholeheartedly. I, too, believe that the current system of normalized, high-stakes, quanitifiable, compulsory grading in our public schools is rife with flaws and must be chunked. Wonderful point. We should have been approaching assessment from a formative angle, rather than implying to Sally, Barry, and Ralph that their worth can be quantified on a 4, 6, or 100 point scale. We should be explicit with our kiddos that even if Sally and Ralph both ended up with a 3.0 per, the number has a very different relative value to either student based on the route they took to get there.

Indeed, I also couldn't agree more with your desire to see an increase in our schools focus on activities outside of the very basic, required curriculum that is wrought with racism, sexism, classism, and which has helped to maintain the "achievement gaps" that we see worsening nationally. It's true, as you infer, that in our impoverished schools, many of them chock full of non-white students, the standards have been set in such a way that expectation has nothing to do with excellence in, say, choir, athletics, health, compassion, or civil service.

Rather, we've ignored their ingenuity, empathy, safety, creativity, and happiness in an effort to "learn 'em" the skills that will earn them the menial jobs that stuff our fat faces with double cheeseburgers. As you know, we do this via a highly lucrative testing system that has our students by the throats. Of course, even a hand on the throat can't deter the vomiting that occurs in 3rd grade classrooms all over the nation due to nerves about state tests. Great insight. In general, I also see that requiring our children to compete every day under the false assumption that we all have the same shot at the American Dream is damaging, untruthful, and threatening to the very ideals that we supposedly stand for. Well put. "

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