Thursday, September 14, 2006

Does this class matter?

I recieved an e-mail today informing me that "Grant Season" has officially openned. Great! Last year I received a grant for I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and A Raisin in the Sun. Those were for my freshmen.
The e-mail was delivered to the 9th and 10th grade teams. I happen to teach 9th graders, 10th graders, and 12th graders. The latter is my Pre-College English. You know, the class that should prepare them for college.
Unfortunately, there aren't but a handful of Beowulf copies, scattered Canterbury Tales, a library of Shakespeare, and a myriad of other books, few of which have enough for two class sets. I want to teach Cry, the Beloved Country because of its brilliance and poetry. But, the copies we have are better fit for the paper shredder. But wait, the e-mail was only to 9th and 10th grade teams, not seniors.
Sometimes I feel forgotten. In the ninth and tenth grade, our students get extra special attention because of the WASL. In eleventh grade, students get special attention because of a district required essay. Sure, our seniors have to complete a culminating project, but nobody cares about the rest of the classes. WE DON'T HAVE BOOKS FOR THEM. We don't push them into college. We just let them be.
This concern led me to Washington State's education site. This bureacracy lauds itself as a K-12 website, making the casual reader believe that twelfth grade is important. But take a look at this. Grade Level Expectations for, wait, did I read that right? K-10. Certainly this is a mistake. So I check out the Grade Level Expectations for writing. Nope; I was right. My seniors don't matter to the State of Washington. We have grade level expectations for students up until the tenth grade. After that, good luck, kids.
And, we are spending money to figure out how to fix our education system through the Washington Learns program. We wonder why Washington State ranks in the bottom half in education. Here's a place to start. DON'T FORGET ABOUT STUDENTS AFTER THE FRIZ-NICKEN WASL.


At 11:55 AM , Blogger Ms Otto said...

Well... I know this doesn't address the real crux of the problem, but it might serve as a band-aid... many public libraries (at least here in Wisconsin, and I'm assuming out by you, too) will do "bulk loans" of several copies of the same title... they will gather them from partner libraries in their network and will usually check them out to teachers.

Will you be able to get 30+ copies of the same book? Probably not. However, as the reading specialist for my high school (and a former social studies classroom teacher), I've had some great success doing literature circles with high school students... not only do you only need 5-6 copies of the same text, but you can choose a variety of high-quality books at different interest levels and reading abilities - allowing you to accommodate advanced readers, special ed kids, bilingual learners, etc. Plus, LC's increase student engagement, and they make it easier for you to see who hasn't read and isn't participating (compared to a whole-class discussion, when usually only a handful of kids join in :)

If you're interested at all, just let me know (comment to my comment, I suppose?)... and I can send you e-files of my stuff.


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