The Treasure Hunter

A blog by Joanne Yatvin

Allons Enfants de la Patrie*

on September 14, 2017

Today’s post speaks for itself–in English.  I would appreciate any positive or negative comments from readers.

*Arise, Children of our Country


During the last quarter of the 20th century some powerful American politicians decided that human learning was a fixed process in which all healthy young people could and should acquire a specific body of knowledge, information, and skills over a fixed period of time. With that belief, the low scores of American students on international tests were a hard pill for politicians to swallow. They concluded that those scores were the fault of our schools and their teachers, also parents who were shirking their responsibility to demand the best from their children. American students of all social backgrounds were growing up lazy, ignorant, and unprepared to be the competent adult workers, leaders, creators, and patriots they were meant to be.

Although there is no research evidence to confirm such beliefs about American students’ laziness or the ineffectiveness of our schools, public education has operated on those assumptions continually through the actions of Congress, the Department of Education, and state legislatures. Those bodies have also used public humiliation and punishment of students, teachers, school principals, unions and—indirectly—parents to prevent any resistance from gaining ground.

Thus far, all efforts to reverse the current concept of education and create a humane and reasonable foundation for our public schools have failed. Recently, we believed that the new federal law, ESSA, would return authority to states and their communities, but that belief was crushed by the Department of Education with its rejection of any state plans aimed to serve students’ needs and interests rather than raise test scores and improve graduation rates.

From my perspective, as the mother of four children who were public school students in far better times, and also as a teacher and school principal back then; there is only one possible solution.  We must have a widespread public rebellion against the current system. Parents should refuse to have their children participate in high stakes testing and demand age-apropriate standards for all grades. Communities need to re-shape their public schools to fit the needs of their students; and state officials must fight any moves by the Federal government to punish  schools for non compliance.

We have wasted more than twenty years trying out the beliefs and programs ordered by  powerful, but know-nothing politicians.  For the sake of our children and our country we must take back public education and allow it to grow naturally through wisdom and humanity.

 

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2 responses to “Allons Enfants de la Patrie*

  1. Sam Bommarito says:

    Well said! We are in an age of information explosion (knowledge explosion!). If the experience of the last 20 years is any indication, most of the jobs for the members todays Kg classes haven’t been invented yet. Any list of skills/information becomes obsolete before it is published. The sensible course is to help students learn how to think not what to think. We need thinkers, lifelong learners, lifelong readers, lifelong writers. We need to recognize the strength that comes with diversity. We need to support that diversity by adapting the education system to the learners not the other way round. Thanks for all you have done to help toward that end.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pauleck47 says:

    Yes, Joanne, yes!! It is time to push back hard against the privatizers and the leaders (i.e.–compliance officers) in our state who are content to follow whatever rules come their way no matter how much damage done to children, teachers, staff, administrators, and the local community. Yes, heck yes, we need a revolution and one is being worked on as we speak by dedicated professional educators caring enough to put-it-on-the-line. Game on, Joanne. Glad to have you in the mix!

    Like

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