The Treasure Hunter

A blog by Joanne Yatvin

No Treasure to Find in Education Today

on November 8, 2017

Over the past year I’ve regretted naming my blog The Treasure Hunter. I should have called it The Disappointed Educator or, better yet, The Sad Sack. As I read about what is happening in our public schools, and what the plutocrats are demanding of students and teachers, I find almost nothing that I am happy with. These are sad, sad times for our schools, our children and, consequently, our nation

Although I am not visiting schools any more to see first hand what is happening, I read enough in several news sources to be convinced that today’s classrooms are more like torture chambers than places for students to mature, learn some stuff, feel good about themselves, and become successful adults.

Over the past several years, even before I had a blog, I publically criticized “No Child Left Behind” and “The Common Core State Standards” for asking the wrong things of students of all ages. I have also complained about the time and money wasted on high stakes testing and the judgments made about the significance of test scores.

Another thing that has bothered me is the ubiquitous worship of data. I cannot understand how the experts can pass judgment on the competence of teachers and the quality of schools on numbers alone, without ever visiting them to see what is really going on and why.

To be honest, I admit that an article I read this week pushed me over the edge of tolerance and civility about what is happening in our schools. It was about a high school in Ohio that has started a program to help students avoid thoughts of suicide. Because three students have killed themselves recently, the school decided that a program was needed to discourage further suicidal urges. I was outraged. Maybe the school leaders should have looked at themselves, the school rules, the current curriculum, and their student expectations,

After that I thought about some of the other programs being used in many schools today: Mindfulness, Social and Emotional Learning, and Grit. Why are they needed? Such beliefs and behaviors are learned naturally by children who are treated well at home and in school. Rather than providing programs to fit the interests, needs, and growth patterns of young people, schools are trying to re-shape them to fit the pipe dreams of the “experts,” and decision makers, all in the interest of making our international test scores look as good as those of some other countries.

Is there really something wrong with American children? I don’t think so. They are the products of our culture, and over the past centuries most of them have displayed the qualities needed to function well in our world. The only serious problems we have are poverty and too many guns.

Unfortunately, I am not empowered to change our country’s politics or re-educate our school decision makers. All I can do is suggest to readers that the most important things we can do is opt-out our children from high stakes tests, pay attention to what our school board is doing, and vote wisely.

Oh, and get off the data train!

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One response to “No Treasure to Find in Education Today

  1. Shaari says:

    Amen! The data train is draining everyone! Let’s get back to authentic and developmentally appropriate learning…..and many behavior issues will go away!

    Like

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