stephanie jones

Archive for October, 2010|Monthly archive page

NOT Waiting for Superman

In Uncategorized on October 31, 2010 at 5:24 pm

If you haven’t already checked this out – please do. A grassroots backlash to the “Waiting for Superman” movie that has received so much attention:

Do we need Superman?

In democracy, Education Policy, family-school relations, films for teacher education, high-stakes tests, NCLB, politics, professional development resources on October 12, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Thanks again to PS for sending this from NPR –

It’s a slightly critical review of “Waiting for Superman” – the documentary focused on failing public schools, the Knights in Shining Armour who can save them (School Reformers – with a capital S and R), and the villains who have destroyed them (teacher unions).


If you have already seen Waiting for Superman, I STRONGLY recommend “Race to Nowhere” – a completely different perspective on the problem of public schools – but also a documentary.


Some folks say Waiting for Superman is “pro-kids” but it creates heroes out of folks who keep pushing the kind of Reform that is destroying kids and childhood (excluding Geoffrey Canada, perhaps, who has a much more holistic perspective on what kids and families need – I have no idea where Canada stands regarding curriculum and assessment…).



Atlanta and Georgia on NPR for cheating accusations

In Education Policy, high-stakes tests, NCLB, politics, poverty on October 12, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Thanks to loyal reader PS for sending this link to me. Those of us in Georgia know that this has saturated our local newspapers for months on end, but now we’re a story on NPR too. High-stakes testing leads to desperation, especially when teachers and administrators are working with youth who have historically – for a variety of reasons – not performed well on standardized tests in schools.

This, by the way, is nothing new and doesn’t only happen in low income schools. Way back when Ohio was just starting the state required tests (I’m talking mid to late 90s here), I was teaching 2nd grade and a colleague give me a class set of books that “just so happened” to have the same story in it that was going to appear on the state test. We were teaching in a middle-class to affluent district, and there were no “high-stakes” involved.

I decided not to give the story to my students and told my colleague that doing so would be missing the point of the assessment – to actually try to learn something about how our students could perform independently on a new “reading task.” Of course, it’s much more complicated than that – tests create completely new contexts where information, knowledge, and understanding don’t always transfer. But imagine, there was this kind of pressure even when there WASN’T any pressure!

Check it out here.

New York Times Magazine junkie…that’s me;)

In democracy, Education Policy, environmental issues, family-school relations, high-stakes tests, inquiry, justice, politics, social action, social policy, Standing up for Kids, teacher education, Teaching Work on October 10, 2010 at 3:03 pm

It may be the single most pleasurable thing I do each and every week (well, almost every week…I occasionally blink my eyes and the weekend is gone only to find Letters in the current Magazine that refer to an issue I had not read – which annoys me to no end).

That pleasurable thing involves making myself an iced mocha, skimming and reading through my local Sunday paper and the NY Times until I feel sufficiently caught up, and then slowly pulling out the week’s NYT Magazine. If I began reading the Magazine first, I would never make it through the paper…

I read the issue title.

Sometimes I smile (like today – great cover).

Sometimes I raise my eyebrows and say “Hmm.”

Sometimes I read the title out loud to Casey or Hayden and add my anticipated opinion about the issue. “Oh God!” or “It’s about time!” or “Oooh. This one looks interesting.” have all been yelled across the room or the deck or the house at one time or another.

Today’s Food Issue is terrific and has everything to do with how we live, how our economy works, how we can be better borrowers of the earth, and how we might better educate youth and ourselves and other adults about learning to do things ourselves. Cooking being one of those things; Growing food another; Collaboratively growing food another; Trading and bartering another; Eating together another; Developing local economies that are sustainable and provide decent incomes and a happier lifestyle another.

Shockingly, none of this has to do with the national rhetoric of getting every child into college. If we were to take to heart the lessons learned from this one issue of the Magazine, we would fundamentally change the paper/pencil/bubbling in focus in schools and ensure that children know how to take care of themselves and others. You simply don’t learn these incredibly important personal, social, political, scientific,  historical, and economic lessons from the state-required standards that produce canned lessons that are as far removed from local contexts and lived realities as might be possible.

Fab interview with Bill Ayers…

In democracy, Education Policy, government, high-stakes tests, institutions, justice, politics, professional development resources, Standing up for Kids, teacher education, teacher education resources on October 4, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Thanks to TCS for sending this my way!

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