March 19, 2010

Catching a Wave

Diane Ravitch, in a broadcast on the Diane Rehm show: "[Public] schools are, and should be, the anchor of their community." She states that charter schools are no better and no worse than public schools and that by splitting up our communities into "tiny little high schools" here and there scattered throughout, we actually do "damage to our democracy." I don't know enough about this, but I imagine that the Slicers do.

She was discussing No Child Left Behind, which I imagine most of us detest, with its orientation on a test/one answer sort of approach to imparting learning. She, of course, was once an ardent supporter for this program, then realized it wasn't working. In fact, according to her, National Test Scores were higher than they were before this went into effect.

I'm an older soul, so my elementary education had a healthy dose of everything: history, grammar, music, PE, art, and spelling among other things. I don't know how things are now on the K-12 front, but if they are anything like what goes on in the community colleges, it's a battle. It's a battle between the government and their power to bestow money if we do what they say, local issues--which include cultural and socio-economic concerns, and a battle as well by those who put out our teaching materials and the teaching philosophies and jargon of the day (I filled out a questionnaire the other day for my textbook publisher and one question was something do to with what helps my "pedagogy." My pedagogy? And you gotta' love those SLOs.).

When I'm in my classroom, all these philosophies and pedagogies and turnabouts and drama remain outside my doors. When I'm in my classroom, I see a few faces paying attention, wanting to learn how to write better, how to catch the wave and ride it for a long long time, letting all the rest fall below them into the hidden, churning deep.

SOLSC Day 19. Click to return.


  1. Hi Elizabeth,
    I'm reading Diane R's book. Very easy to read and I love it when I hear her on a show. She is just what our side needs, especially when she came from the dark side into the light.

  2. But what is your pedagogy, Elizabeth?

  3. Allow me to pose a follow up question... do you teach people or do you teach material?

  4. Diane Ravitch needs to speak a little louder these days. What she's saying FINALLY makes a lot of sense! I truly commend her for the "180" she's done.

  5. It has taken Ravitch many years to make this turn about. Somewhat akin to the turning circle of the Queen Mary II but at least she has had this epiphany. As Stacey writes, she needs to speak a little louder. The spectre of testing is still a very large cloud over the educational landscape.