Low Expectations Anonymous
Via eduwonk.com, watch Education Guru Margaret Spellings on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Here's an excerpt:
Stewart: "Education, why is it such a bedevilling problem; not just for this administration....you could change one thing, you could smite the teachers' union if you wish" [Ms. Spellings makes funny faces as if she agrees before saying "no"] "In a perfect world what is the most vexing part of this whole situation?"
Spellings: "Low expectations. What the President calls the 'soft bigotry' of low expectations."
Stewart then takes the opportunity to make fun of the President--really?
Spellings: "No, seriously, we have to expect more from our kids, and we have lowered the bar, and lowered the bar...kids will rise to the occasion. Kids are bored in high school. They're not being prepared..."
Stewart: "Who is that expects less? Is it the parents that expect less, or is it the teachers expect less...who's got the low expectations?"
Spellings: "I think a lot of time the system does..."
After hearing Ms. Spellings imply that I expect less from my students (I am part of the system), I did some soul searching. I ended up at Low Expectations Anonymous. Here's the transcript:
Mr. McNamar: "Hello, everyone, I'm Mr. McNamar and I don't expect much from my students."
Group: "Hello, Mr. McNamar."
Mr. McNamar: "It started late last month. I had a student who had been an A student most of her school career. I'd noticed that her grades were slipping and her attendance was dropping. I talked to her, telling her my concerns. I contacted her parents. She continued to not turn work in and miss class. I continued to call home and encourage her. Then I noticed that my expectations were too high. Apparently she is not in the upper middle class. So, I lowered my expectations for her. It no longer bothers me that she doesn't come to class or turn in homework."
Group Leader: "How does this make you feel?"
Mr. McNamar: "Well, at first, I felt released from all of the stress I have had for the past months wondering about whether this student would graduate on time, or even if she was safe and okay. But then, I heard a voice from the Education Goddess, Ms. Spellings. She said that the most vexing situation in public education is that teachers, well, she said, 'system', doesn't care to have high expectations. I realized I was one of those poor souls."
Group Leader: "You've taken the first step towards understanding, Mr. McNamar. We are here to help you understand that the students' boredom is not their fault; it's yours. Thank you for sharing."
"Mr. McNamar: "I feel so much better."