Tuesday, March 25, 2008

a-boom boom boom boom boom

In support of my long-running series on homework and misguided education I present this interesting tidbit (it caught my eye at andrewsullivan.com). Watching what it is that drives kids nuts about the learning process is that they aren’t learning a whole lot of anything while being marched in a neat little squad. Admittedly, I’m not in the classrooms during the day but if the grading standard and homework are any indication of what goes on than the schools are desperately confused. A direct parallel can be drawn between the rigorous enforcement of handwriting in this school and the comical ‘skills’ that are taught in a highly-rated district like Arlington. From what I can discern, there’s little or no creativity of thought or free thinking allowed in most public schools – it’s all about the SOLs and myriad of standardized tests that hold sway over the education process. What exactly the teachers are being directed to teach and evaluate in the classroom is a mystery. The homework involves coloring squares to represent fractions and percentages, misguided history study, memorization of inane facts, creation of pretty but mindless posters, and simple busy work. Grading is based on turning in completed assignments with little rhyme or reason in relation to whether or not it’s correct or interesting. “Is this the moronic homework sheet I sent home last night? Great, I’ll put a check in my slavish grade book and get back to teaching you a brand new methodology for multiplication and division.”

I know it’s not necessary the teachers’ fault yet I can’t excuse their support, even implicit, of the system.


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