Monday, August 26, 2013

Reflections on the Educational Process

Once again it appears that the Texas Educational Agency has thrown the baby out with the bathwater.  This seems to happen every few years when a new PhD is added to their staff, al, in their opinions, for the sake of providing the children of Texas with a better education.  And in my opinion and only my opinion, once again, they are severely injuring the education of Texas’ children.

The new water mark for Texas education will be three-fold:  test scores, graduation rates, and college entrance exams. Graduation rates have some validity, I think.

However, while it would be nice, I suppose, if all our kids went to college, it’s not very likely, and, frankly, not necessary.  So why would entrance exams be a necessary guideline?  Don’t we want to have mechanics (auto and otherwise), secretaries, cooks and chefs, hair dressers, massage therapists, heavy equipment operators, farmers, electricians, bus and truck drivers, plumbers, and so forth?  Don’t we need them any more?  And if we do, why do they need to have a college diploma?  There are trade schools for those necessary jobs.  Often they pay more than one would receive with a college diploma, so, I think college entrance exams are useless as a monitor of achievement for everyone.

Now, quite a few years back the whole education system was changed with “No Child Left Behind”.  This program insisted, and still does insist, that we are all the same, with the same abilities, talents, thought processes.  Baloney!!

Gee, I wish I could paint like Rembrandt or play cello like Yo-Yo Ma.  But we are not the same.  I can write and I do a little art, but I can’t sing or play music.  I love to cook, but I am no Bobby Flay!  I don’t know anything about a car except whether it goes or not, and I don’t want to know about it.  I rely on someone else who has those abilities. 

We are not all the same!  We don’t look alike, sound alike, walk and talk alike.  And we don’t learn at the same rate or through the same process.  And no matter how much the state of Texas would like for us to, we don’t!  Full stop!

There was a time, about thirty years ago, when teachers were allowed to know what they are doing and to teach kids.  We had homogeneous grouping, so that kids could learn at their own rate.  We also had prayer and paddling.  Now, kids are not expected to mind; they are condemned if they pray; they have to be just like to kid next to them.  Ridiculous!

The kids are still expected to take a standardized test, and it would appear that they are supposed to be taught the test only.  I never will forget when one of our grandchildren’s sixth grade teacher informed us that this child could not do long division!  At that time the test didn’t teach it so it was never learned, but that sixth grade teacher thought it was essential and taught it anyway!

I remember when another grandchild’s second grade teacher had to lock the door so she couldn’t be disturbed when teaching phonics because it was against policy to teach that method - a system which is one of only two that ever really works, in my opinion.

I’ve been out of teaching for ten years now, and you couldn’t pay me to go back, because, although I can teach just about any child to read and do elementary math, I wouldn’t do it right according to the state, and I wouldn’t want to play the games the state has set.

What is my opinion?  Each school district should be responsible for the education of the children within the district.  State and federal government should step out.  This is just my opinion, but I hold to it!

1 comment:

judie said...

I don't live in Texas, but I sure agree with you 100%!!

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