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Mon, 09 Jul 2012


Comment 1:

Taking "best products to scale" sounds efficient. Now, if only all children were equally prepared to go to school each day and practice the same skills on the same day.

Efficiency is not a viable goal for learning. Each child faces singular challenges in learning. Even twins from the same family are not the same and do not gain the same benefits from the same lessons taught by the same teacher.

Education can be kept "efficient" by offering the same materials for study to rooms of students, but any teacher who understands the job, knows that the questions needing answers will not be the same from child to child. There will be a slant that reflects the individual needs of the moment for each child.

Dealing with the similar questions first will help the majority (making it practical to ask children to raise hands and ask their questions aloud). After that, the questions will be more personal. When a teacher can get to the individual questions, the child may get the special answer needed. When a teacher cannot get to the child, frustration can build in the child. Over time, a sequence of unanswered questions may sour the affection for learning.

"Best products to scale" won't solve the challenges faced by individual children. Quickly "trained" teachers won't, perhaps, even know to seek out the individual questions after the hands go down. Children are not all alike as peas in a pod. Children are not a monoculture to be liberally sprayed with the best products so they grow to maturity and can be harvested from their school, all equally ready for college or the work force.

Comment 2:

A "common core" sounds reasonable. "Back to basics" didn't have the necessary ring to it. Back to basics had the sense of retreat built into it. Common core suggests there will be time and support for the addition of all the rich elements of learning found around the core.

Time will tell. As you note, Diane, this initiative is being rolled out in 45 states. Each state will implement their own curriculum. Each districe/school/teacher will add what is possible to the basics (oops, core). We can hope that there will be time and support for the civics lessons, the band practices, the application of brushes to the art canvas and a bit left over for the joys of running free during recess.

But, if due process is eliminated, will quickly "trained" teachers replace the seasoned professionals?

If the money from state and federal sources is determined by a school's success rate only on the core, will districts find the money to support the arts, STEM, chess club, programming a computer (not just knowing Office)?

Will the core remain just the core, or will it be the whole since only the core will count toward maintaining the financial support from the state and federal level?

posted at: 07:51 | path: | permanent link to this entry