It has been an exciting couple weeks in education policy here in New York state. As I’ve been writing about for the past couple of weeks, a massive civil disobedience of sorts has taken hold of the state (not exactly because no one is doing anything illegal, but the goal is definitely to force existing policies to change by refusing to comply). Continue reading
Let Them Eat Tests
Every once in a while, someone does us a favor and says explicitly what we’ve been suspecting they believed or intended all along. Sometimes it has to be captured by a mole, like Mitt Romney’s 47 percent comment. Sometimes people say it loud and proud because, apparently, they don’t understand just how awful it makes them sound.
That was the case for NYS Regent Meryl Tisch’s suggestion that “high performing” schools be exempted from the high-stakes testing regime that is currently being forced on the school children of the state. Continue reading
Refuse the Tests
Parents. Grandparents. Anyone raising school-aged children in the state of New York, and anyone who has their ear: We need to talk about these upcoming high-stakes tests. Continue reading
Public Education Is Under Attack
Yesterday, public school advocates rallied at the New York state capitol to call for full state funding of public education. Participants held “R.I.P.” tombstone signs of the programs, classes, staff and resources that their schools have had to cut over the past five years—arts, languages, small class sizes, academic support services, magnet programs. All the things that serve what politicians like to call “21st century skills.” Continue reading
5 Things Engage NY Didn’t Intend to Teach My Kid
It’s always good to look on the bright side of things, right? (Or at least frequently good. Relentlessly doing so veers toward denial.)
Nonetheless, when you have a kid in school in this age of absurd overtesting, inappropriately high-stakes standardized testing, and corporate influence in education, you have to look for the silver linings. Continue reading
“Smart” Kids and Hard Tests
So a couple weeks ago now, I attended the forum on the Common Core standards in Albany with Commissioner King.
The parents and teachers and board members and principals who spoke were as a rule eloquent. Some of the many things mentioned that I share concern about incude: Continue reading
Who Gets to Play?
My 2nd grader wants to do everything (Soccer! Gymnastics! 4H! Garden club! Karate! Running club! Contra dance!). The only reason an instrument isn’t on her list is because she wants to learn flute and she’s too young to start.
As someone with many interests too, part of me wants to enable her to pursue all of her passions, or as many of them as she can fit in a week. But then I spend a Sunday morning watching her play royal family with her sister or an afternoon watching her run around outside with her friends, and I’m much more worried that even though we have drawn a line, that we have given in to too many structured activities, when what she really needs is more time for free play. Continue reading