This is the time to stand for the children of our country. We owe it to them and to our future to fight for their right to be in schools that put them first, values them as people and care enough about their well being that they will do everything in their power to make them feel that they matter.
I am tired of the experts who come up with different models of education to BEAT that of another country. WHO CARES?
The business model of education does not work as we are not factories manufacturing widgets that all look the same, act the same and serve the same function. We are entrusted with the souls of our children to love, to nurture and to value their uniqueness.
This can’t be counted as ‘educational minutes’. There is no formula or timetable that will ensure that children are learning and growing. Bring back more recess allowing children to make connections with each other. Allow free play, allow creative endeavors and time that children can be involved in their work of ‘play’. What do you remember about your school days? Do you remember acing the test or that play that your third-grade teacher put on? Do you remember that you met the benchmark for your 3rd quarter reading level or the magic of reading the Wizard of Oz as a class? Do you remember that you spent 90 minutes on literacy or the day the teacher let you spend all day creating a city with the materials in your room?
Bring back kindergarten that allows for the dress-up corner, the sandbox, the painting easel. Take away the pressures of the curriculum, assessments, and standards. Allow the children to begin school with the love of learning, exploring and forming relationships. Children need to learn the social skills of turn taking, sharing and working as a team much more than ensuring that they are at a level E-reading level by the end of kindergarten. We need to time to let children be children.
We are not hospitals with billable hours. Take away the 30 minutes twice a week style of providing support for students and allow the time that a child needs when he needs it. Allow the support personnel to use their professional expertise to determine the needs of their students and to work hand in hand with educators to provide the support that student needs. The child that has experienced a personal trauma may need a full day of counseling. The child with social-emotional needs may need daily support at recess to assist them to understand how to play but once they have formed a circle of friends may not need this intensity. Support needs to be flexible and responsive to the needs of the child and not just the ‘contract’. There is no magic formula for how much time that might take.
Give us the tools to assist us in intervening with those children that might need more intensive social-emotional skill building. Bring back guidance counselors in the elementary grades. Let school psychologist have more time to interact with students and be part of the fabric of the school rather than have them be simply a test administrator.
Allow us to work more closely with families to strengthen the school to home connection. Have a meaningful dialogue about the whole of the child and not how he measures on a test. The normal curve will always have some students above and below the average, that is why it is called a normal curve. Instead of frightening parents about the achievement of their child to perform at a level set by those that do not know their child talk about that child’s strengths and weaknesses. Yes, by all means, work to strengthen those areas of weakness with the best evidence-based practices, however also celebrate the strengths and encourage their expansion.
We are not the Wild West. We did not choose to be soldiers or police officers. We chose to be educators, speech and language pathologists, guidance counselors, psychologists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, behavior therapists, educational administrators, school nurses, coaches, librarians, paraprofessionals, intervention specialists, school secretaries, school custodians, technology specialists and bus drivers. We are caring for the future and that is the most important vocation. Give us the tools to allow us to do our jobs.
#Armmewith and Educational Model of School that allows me to celebrate the uniqueness of each student and care for their minds, body, and souls.