kitchen table math, the sequel: more fun with public schools

Thursday, December 23, 2010

more fun with public schools

Peter Meyer weighs in


SteveH said...

In each of the schools my son attended, I asked for details of their curricula. All I got were frameworks and a bunch of general topics. When I presssed for more, I was told that I could talk to any teacher to get details. They viewed me with suspicion.
Apparently, curriculum details are owned by each teacher. They might get together to talk about particular topics or how to coordinate material, but the rest is left up to the teachers. In fact, the schools encourage teachers to design differentiated instruction lessons or thematic topics to present to other teachers. A school curriculum head might coordinate the selection of a new math curiculum, but the details are left up to individual teachers.

"The notion of being a body that questions the administration and seeks alternatives is simply beyond its comprehension; in fact, it's considered treasonous."

I call it a turf issue. Schools think that education belong to them. They know that they are making huge curriculum and social assumptions, but feel it is their right to do so. Our schools had a 5-year strategic meeting that was open to the public, but many basic assumptions were off-the-table.

I can't see how you would drive any major changes via a school board without a huge fight over who is really in control. In our town, many parents pull their kids and pay to go elsewhere. They are no longer available to fight the battle (Catherine is a wonderful exception in Irvington). Those who are left keep their heads low and fix things at home.

Hainish said...

SteveH & others:

If you have not yet read the current issue of AFT's American Educator, I suggest you do so ASAP:

It's all about curriculum issues, inc. a very good study on math content coverage.

(It's xmas day, and this is how I'm spending my time.)

Catherine Johnson said...

Hainish, good for you!

I applaud spending Christmas day obsessing over LOUSY, GODAWFUL PUBLIC SCHOOL MATH CURRICULA!!

Catherine Johnson said...

That said, I did manage to more-or-less NOT spend my own Christmas day obsessing over LOUSY, GODAWFUL PUBLIC SCHOOL MATH CURRICULA!

Catherine Johnson said...

(Catherine is a wonderful exception in Irvington).


Thanks for the compliment (I REALLY appreciate it) -- but Catherine just lost a major, huge, big-time battle here in Irvington.

big, big, big


So now, instead of electing a third person to the school board and gaining a majority in support of fiscal and academic accountability, we're fighting rearguard battles to clear eminent historian Lucy Dawidowicz's name.

Local school politics are pretty incomprehensible.