Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Grrr-Rant Ahead

There are a lot of issues with California public schools (duh!); the greatest issue at the moment is financial, to the tune of 374 RUSD teachers receiving final reduction in force letters today. These 374 teachers are not all super star teachers, but MOST of them are--they run our schools from their classroom and lead students to success across the board.

I mourn for them; their loss of a "job" is really a loss of career, and for some, a loss of passion. Pray for them and their families.

That said, here starts my rank (stop reading if you don't care, I won't be offended): With that in the back of my mind all day, I was a bit snippy with a few students today--here's why...

Important Premise #1: Everything about school is meant for the students. Everything. Well, at least everything is suppose to be meant for them.

Important Premise #2: Accountability is important for education as a while.

Important Premise #3: We talk about accountability, testing, and making them bubble until they can bubble blind, deaf, and dumb (not my saying, I assure you), but we never talk about true accountability for them.

Important Premise #4: Our system allows, and I could even say ENCOURAGES, students to fail over and over again.

Think about this for a second:
  • Students learn and test.
  • Teachers are held accountable for their individual scores (great idea, I think)
  • Schools are held accountable for their API growth and subgroup targets (benefits and challenges presented here too).
  • If students do well--teachers and schools benefits.
  • Students are praised over and over again for reaching their goal. We usually even "reward" the student with a Popsicle...
  • If students do poorly--teachers and schools suffer.
  • We try to figure out how to be a better teacher, how to adapt instruction to meet their needs, how to improve their experience, we talk and talk and talk about what is missing (all good and important).
  • Students are moved on to the next grade and the next class without a consequence and definitely without a conversation about how they need to be a better student, how they need to adapt their learning and home environment, how they need to improve their own personal school experience. Simply, students don't talk at all about it...

WAIT! Do you see the break down here?

Do I blame the students? NO. They have never had to talk about it, why would be expect them to naturally and spontaneously start? I blame the school system that has put more money into building "confidence" in students who don't make an effort, than those who do...

Case in point:

Summer school for RUSD:

Those who failed a class get to go to summer school for free (limited subjects, but still, free); whereas, those who want to take a class to get ahead or to make room in their schedule for an college-prep elective (foreign language, science, higher level math, art, yearbook) have to pay!

The paying part isn't what bothers me (frankly, I think they should all pay), but if we're going to make it free to some, don't you think we should make it free to those who did what they we are supposed to during the school year? We're rewarding the losers, plain and simple.

I get really mad when those losers have the audacity to COMPLAIN that they can only take summer school at Poly, or that they can only make up 10 credits at a time, or when they say something as ignorant as "it's my RIGHT to take summer school."

That is when I turn into Scylla.

Odyssey reference for those of you still reading (Scylla=6 headed snake like monster who eats people for the fun of it)

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