Wednesday, 15 April 2015
#MakeSchoolDifferent Five Things We Need to Stop Pretending in Education
This afternoon, I came across @fryed's response to this blog challenge. It was not difficult for me to resist adding my own ideas to the mix -
5 Things We Need To Stop Pretending in Education ...
(1) We need to stop pretending that mental health is really a priority whilst publicly funded support for children experiencing mental health crises is near impossible to access in a timely manner (either within or outside of school board environments - wait lists and red tape are often insurmountable). If mental health is truly a priority (and I believe it should be) funding should indicate that it is. There have been many gains in the past few years, but there is much more work to do.
(2) We need to stop pretending that assessment practices can really change effectively in Ontario until the summative report card is altered to highlight learning. This is especially true in the primary division where letter grades do nothing much more than create fixed mindsets in children for who being categorized and labeled seems a life-sentence. Something more inline with BC's checklist-based reports or a combination of checklists and comments just makes sense.
(3) We need to stop pretending that there is equity in the funding formula. Per student funding works only in theory. Every school board community is different as is each school within each board. Even the MOE has demonstrated they recognize the constraints with initiatives to bridge gaps like SaNB (Small and Northern Boards).
(4) To echo @fyed, we need to stop pretending that it is okay that the internet is not accessible to all. Hardware infrastructure is also essential. BYOD is a double-edged sword: it reduces the cost of hardware on boards and schools while increasing inequity within schools, boards and the province.
(5) We need to stop pretending that all curriculum expectations are made equal. Teachers are phenomenal in their abilities to multi-task, integrate and make time for the hundreds of curricular expectations they find themselves responsible for in a given year. We know that Early Literacy and early numeracy are essential for the future success of our students, yet as teachers we are expected to EVALUATE our youngest students by assigning a letter grade to areas like science, social studies, health and physical education. Exposure to all of these areas is important - but if the evaluation of these content areas is taking time away from helping students learn to read - aren't our priorities misplaced?
What are your thoughts on my list of five? Where do you feel we need to stop pretending in education ...?