Sunday, May 11, 2008

Education Week at LeftCheek - pt. 1

As a card-carrying member of the local teacher's union, as a progressive educator in the vein of Dewey, and as an urban and public education proponent, I should be able to take some definite stands on issues related to my field. And I do.

But as a parent and as a reflective and - hopefully thoughtful - teacher, I still need to question the accepted wisdom given me from all directions. This bonus Weekly Links edition is dedicated to the ongoing questions and struggles that we as educators (and particularly, of course, me) face on a regular basis. This is just a little window into our souls, into our highly politicized world, into our hearts and minds and emotionally charged experiences. It's a lot of questions with quite possibly a few answers if we're lucky and willing to dig.

This is part one.

Teacher Opposed to Standardized Tests Reconsiders. In this NPR piece, a teacher considers what good is coming out of NCLB for the left-behind children of the urban landscape. She also considers how the high-stakes testing playing field is furthering the educational gap between the haves and the have-nots.

From the Harvard Education Letter is the non-news that students' literacy and learning (and, subsequently, their testing) is affected by the interaction in literacy and learning that they get at home, particularly with their parents.
School matters, but literacy starts at home. Teachers armed with reading contracts and carefully worded missives have long urged parents to read aloud to their children. But now there is a second and perhaps more powerful message: Talk to your kids, too...
“It is really what parents have been doing at home that children have to draw on when they become readers and writers,” says Gail Jordan, associate professor of education at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minn., who says children from three to five are “ripe” for engaging in rich language learning.
A decade ago, Jordan created Project EASE (Early Access to Success in Education) to help parents and kindergarten teachers work shoulder to shoulder to help children develop literacy skills. The program, now used in 120 Ohio schools and in Minnesota, invites parents and children to participate in structured evening events that provide education and modeling for parents and offer weekly activities to do at home. Parent-child activities include storybook reading, retelling family narratives, and talking about the world. Retelling family stories, for example, reinforces the sequencing of ideas, emphasizes the value of detail, and sharpens children’s narrative skills.
Blogging helps encourage teen writing. Also, not news. But glad that someone is giving this form of writing a shot.

And I know that you've been burning with this question forever: Where do homeschoolers go to when they're suspended?
We got yer answer right here!

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