A fascinating email found its way into my inbox last week describing a visit to a high profile, “no excuses” charter school. The email was written by someone who is solidly pro-reform and strongly pro-charter. She spent the morning visiting Big Name Charter and pronounced herself aghast. “The school is fantastically well run, and the kids are on task —- and it is all fuzzery all the time. The reading curriculum is Fountas and Pinnell; the math curriculum is so bad it has sparked parent uprisings across the country,” she writes.I've had an email from a person involved in public education who says KIPP is firmly committed to constructivist curricula. I'll post if the person who wrote gives me permission.
For now, I'll share my correspondent's analogy: giving excellent teachers bad curricula and expecting them to perform miracles (which they do) is similar to depriving the best doctors of antibiotics, diagnostic tests, and effective surgical techniques and telling them to "heal the sick."
From my perspective as a parent who values a traditional liberal education taught via direct instruction and deliberate practice, I find myself asking once again: why is it parents in my group can't have what we want?
Why do we have to have what other people want?
And why do we have to pay for it?
Speaking of what other people want, our board of education election was held last Tuesday. The candidate we supported lost.
The candidate who won pledged to keep Math Trailblazers and said we would not be replacing Trailblazers with Singapore Math.
One of the candidates who won last year made the same promise.
Meanwhile we've got parents in town who are paying to have their children take private classes that use Primary Mathematics.
Are there any parents anywhere in the country paying out of pocket to provide their children private lessons in Math Trailblazers?
More and more, I'm thinking micro-schools could be an answer for parents like me.
update: my correspondent's email is up
Michael Goldstein on teacher choice