Saturday, March 07, 2009

Let's change the way we think of education

A "groundbreaking" survey out of Toronto claims that race and poverty matter as early as grade 3. I'm not sure what's so earth shattering about that, but at least maybe it will shake some people into reality. Though the survey was done in Canada, I expect the groundbreaking results would apply in the United States as well.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was set up because we knew that children of certain ethnicities were being "left behind." NCLB requires every school to break down their test results demographically so that schools can begin to see which group they are not teaching effectively. In theory, this is great. However, once the groups are identified, instead of finding new ways to teach, the school simply drills that ethnic/age group of kids more with the same old strategies.

Our world is not the same as it was 60 years ago. We have got to change the way we educate!

Step in to the Ron Clark Academy:

I am a very critical observer of schools and teachers. When Mr. Clark went on stage at the conference I attended, I immediately thought of Pee Wee Herman. He was way too bouncy and silly looking. But when I heard Mr. Clark speak, he blew me away! Despite his Tigger-ish bounciness, I could tell that he isn't teaching to entertain poor kids. He has extremely high expectations. He expects the kids will achieve academically. He expects them to behave and be polite. He expects them to encourage one another. And he has fun.

I want my staff to go to Atlanta. I want us to learn from his energy and do as much as we can to replicate this kind of learning in our After-School Academy. But we need your help. The only time we would be able to visit is their one-day teacher visitation day on May 29. It is $300 per person...and there are 3 of us. I have already secured a place for us to stay with friends. Now we only need the transportation and registration.

If you can contribute in any way, please contact me and let me know.

We want to do everything we can to ensure that our kids love to learn and know how to excel.
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