with eyes open wide
So many things to complain about… I actually had a great public school education. Ok, not perfect, but very good compared to most. But I graduated 10 years ago (whaaaaa?!) and I think things have changed in the last decade AND I have a wider perspective of education after having lived abroad and now after seeing a much broader view of the entire United States.
I really would love to go into teaching one day. Education fascinates me. I’ve come across a good number of interesting education-focused articles lately so I put them together into one special Suggested Internet Reading (it’s a little heavy on the NY Times, sorry about that). Hope you like it!
The Battle for New York Schools: Eva Moskowitz vs. Mayor Bill de Blasio (NY Times) – Team EVA! … and Team de Blasio. 🙂 I really do understand both sides, but I have to say I am pulling more for Team Eva in the short term. You probably have no idea what I’m talking about, but I definitely encourage you to read this article. Basically, Eva Moskowitz is a huge pioneer for New York City Charter Schools and she’s doing it (and doing it REALLY WELL, by the way) because the public schools are failing students and she doesn’t want to wait for the government bureaucracy to work itself out in another 10 years. Can you blame her?? But on the other hand, de Blasio, bless his soul, really and truly wants to make a difference in New York City and I think he is going to try his hardest to turn things around. Even though fixing the NYC school system would be a huge example for the rest of the nation, I still don’t see Washington coming around to make sweeping (necessary) changes across the nation. So Team Eva for now, with the hope that de Blasio will start a movement in public schools nationwide…
51,000 Answer de Blasio’s Bell for New Pre-K (NY Times) – Again, focusing on New York, de Blasio’s Pre-K program just started and I think it is AWESOME. Good for him for keeping a huge campaign promise and shame on all the haters. Pushing kids to learn with other kids at an early age is GOOD! Congratulations to all the wealthy families who don’t need this and who have the resources and time to do this outside of the school system, but the reality is that poor kids don’t get this at home and automatically start out behind other kids when they enter school. It’s time to start levelling the playing field!
So Bill Gates Has This Idea for a History Class… (NY Times) – I wrote about this last year and the Big History Course has had some time in public schools by now. I really loved this article by Andrew Ross Sorkin because he looks at the bigger picture – how education as a whole would be affected if all schools were to incorporate this curriculum. I have to say, I agree that this might be too much for high school. A required college course – definitely. College kids are more independent and freer thinkers. High school students still rely a lot on the guidance of their parents, so getting them to think outside of the box (and perhaps go against what their parents believe) is just cause for familial frustration and controversy. Sure, showing the relation between history and science is great. But for a high school student who is just learning each individual subject (biology, chemistry, world history, etc.) for the first time, this Big History course seems very broad but shallow. I guess I don’t understand how it will be taught in conjunction with the other subjects. After, as a optional senior course? But really telling is when Bill Gates notes at the end of the article that they have had problems finding qualified teachers. Again, a course much more likely for a college professor!
The Trouble With Tenure (NY Times) – God, whoever came up with teacher tenure should be shot. DUMBEST IDEA EVER. I would love to see the arguments pro teacher tenure. They have got to be the most ridiculous things ever.
Unschooling: The Case for Setting Your Kids Into the Wild (Outside) – I saved the best for last! This article by Ben Hewitt is so cool. I think what he is doing with his kids is awesome and I would love to have the same, or a similar, set up one day.