I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dear Abby: Education Genius

Dear Abby is the smartest woman in America:
DEAR ABBY: Wouldn't it make sense if grade school teachers set aside time, weekly or monthly, to go over some very generic information that kids need to learn? I'm talking about things like how important it is to have pets neutered and why, how to manage money, and show them what the average dad earns and what it costs to run a household and support a family. It might help kids to grow up understanding that money isn't free and get them past the "gimmes." 
There are so many topics that ought to be introduced to youngsters at an early age -- how to groom themselves properly, be exposed to a variety of music genres, teach them how grandparents can use help even from small children. They could be taught to be aware of their surroundings, to realize that foul language isn't an attribute and why it's important to be pleasant. 
There are so many topics. Ten minutes a week on different topics would suffice. Why not? -- 
DEAR READER: Why not? Because teachers are so overwhelmed trying to get their students to learn enough basic curriculum to pass the state mandated tests that they don't have time!
Reading your letter I couldn't help but wonder whose children you are describing. All of the topics you mentioned are things children should learn from their parents. Where are those parents? AWOL? [emphasis mine]
I was thinking someone should send this to all the reformy-types, but then it occurred to me that they'd probably say that we need new state-mandated tests in grooming, followed by a Value-Added Model as part of the teachers' evaluations. Maybe a Danielson-based rubric:

  • The child has washed behind his/her ears - 4 points
  • The child has a small amount of gunk behind his/her ears - 3 points
  • The child has large clods of dirt behind his/her ears - 2 points.
  • The child has things growing behind his/her ears - 1 point.
Try to tell me this isn't where we're heading...

h/t Marie Corfield - make a contribution to this teacher's campaign for NJ Assembly!

1 comment:

Commuting Teacher said...

I find your allusion to parental responsibility refreshing. It is THE single most important factor in education outcomes, yet the LEAST discussed. Parents have abdicated so much of their responsibility to the schools and now look how that has turned out. However tackling that issue is as hard as tackling poverty... yet I know private schools make parents accountable. Why can't public schools?