Speaking of art projects the parents complete, my sister just swapped emails with a young teacher in her 20s. My sister, who taught high school English years ago, "went on to say that I was old school and taught pre-posters, cereal box decorating, and movie analysis."
I get a ton of e-mails (and not just from Amy P) complaining about a math program called Everyday Math. We don't have that program in our town; ours is more a hybrid between the old and new systems. Everything that I've heard about this math program is negative. Even with the hybrid system, Jonah's teachers have been terrible about math. They don't do enough repetition of math facts, and they just explain things really badly.
They don't do handwriting anymore, because the teachers tell me that all work will happen on laptops in the future.
Their time in specials (art, library, computers, health) is a complete waste of time.
They don't do enough writing.
They are not preparing the kids for good colleges. In fact, the head administrators seem to think that college consists of kids working in groups on laptop computers. They aren't preparing the kids for big lecture halls and blue books.
They assign book reports that consist largely of art projects that the parents complete.
They assign stupid homework like word searches and crossword puzzles.
They aren't even making sure that their curricula is lining up with the state standards. On state standardized tests, the kids are being tested on material that the teachers haven't covered yet. And in one case that I know about, a teacher coached the kids on the test.
Any criticism of school performance is rejected and blame is placed on the talent of the children. Or, in one very alarming instance, on the SES of the student body.
We're not in the highest performing school district in the state, but we're about at a B level for elementary and middle school. The high school is ranked in the top ten in the state, because it is a regional school district that brings in kids from wealthier towns. But I would not say that it is giving the students a high level education. A large proportion of the kids coming out of that high school are funneled into one of the substandard local colleges.
new teacher's response:
I teach in XXXX, Nevada. I've found that when I assign projects like posters and use clips from movies, the students understand complex, traditional literary devices (mood, theme, irony, etc.) much better. And, since the world these kids must live in is changing, I like to show them exactly how their education is relevant in more aspects of life than in my classroom.So there you have it.
Does the world these kids must live in include college?
And how is it, exactly, that kids "understand complex literary devices" better when they make posters?
(How do you make a poster about irony?)