Saturday, September 16, 2006

I'm done.

I like Dennis Fermoyle's blog, From the Trenches, because he believes in what we public school teachers do. He defends us well; and for that, I am grateful. He's recently been de-blogging (I just coined that to mean Debate through Blogs) with K-Derosa from D-Ed Reckoning about instructional methods and public school perceptions. K-Derosa tends to snark at public education based on all of the research--and by research he means Direct Instruction. I do, despite his obvious bias and unwillingess to give any credit to teachers, enjoy reading his posts because they do challenge me to ensure that my methods are actually effective. Giving K-Derosa any credit in the matter is difficult because I've also been on the receiving end of his jab--don't worry, it didn't hurt.
With school starting last week, I feel like I've missed out on all of the fun this debate has generated. Nothing entices me more than a good verbal spar, even if it is merely for the enjoyment of sparring. But, after reading the multiple posts, I felt I wanted to add my thoughts. Unfortunately, I found my thought tank was empty. That confused me. I'm never at a loss for words, especially if it means fighting for education.
Upon further review (sorry, I've watched too much football lately), I've decied that my empty thought tank resulted from too much theory discussion. For me, education debates reflect the current political landscape. Instead of focusing on what will actually work, we hunker down in our rhetoric, avoiding any concessions to the "other" side. Take the issue of the Iraq war. One side is slow to admit any mistakes while the other side says that every move we've made has been a mistake. The same is true in education.
One side says that if every student doesn't meet 100% of the standards, then the school has failed. Yet, the other side demonstrates a willingness to make excuses. Isn't the truth somewhere in the middle? Or is that just an excuse too?
Certainly when a student fails, I am part of the problem. And yet, when a student fails, she is part of the problem as well. Or are we unwilling to hold a student accountable in any way because she is a student? If that is true, then at what point do we hold students responsible for their own education?
So there you have it. I'm done with blaming. I accept responsibility for my failures and vow to make improvements. That is the best I can do.


At 1:12 PM , Blogger KDeRosa said...

If that is true, then at what point do we hold students responsible for their own education?

Good question.

I'd suggest a sliding scale starting at almost no responsibility (regular attendance) in elementary school all the way up to almost full responsibility (do whatever the teacher reasonably requires) by the end of high school.

It is unfortunate that most academic failures can be traced back to the elementary school level where schools are much more in control of the student and where the responsibility of school is at its greatest.

High schools do a generally decent job with students who have the right skills to succeed. The problem is that too many students lack these skills coming out of k-8.


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