Friday, March 23, 2012

When it comes to children, I don’t mind being a pain in the ass

I’m a pain in the ass.  

  • I admit it.
  • I acknowledge it.
  • I own it.  
  • Heck, I'm even proud of it.

You see, I’m not satisfied with the work I’m doing in the school system these days. 

Not at all. 

I believe the work we do everyday should exemplify the idea that our children matter and are capable of doing work that is worthy of the world.


Work that matters...
Work that is worthy of the world...


Drill! Kill! Bubblefill!
(Wise advice from Nikhil Goyal. A young man that knows he matters.)

Yet, this is what educators today are charged to do.

And, if they don’t???


Students... are suffering because they’re told they’ll be left behind because they are not progressing at the same rate as the system says they should! What the hell is going on? We give lip service to differentiating instruction but then we give a one-size-fits all test. The same test to students with special needs. The same test to students who don’t even speak the language. The same test to gifted students. It doesn’t matter. If they don’t do well that one day, everything they’ve done across the year can be wiped out in the blink of an eye.

Teachers... are suffering because they’re told if their students don’t succeed, they may end up fired and on the front page of a newspaper for being a bad teacher. As a result, they are FORCED to impose test prep upon children when they know it is harming them if they want to keep their jobs. It is these teachers who have to deal with children who are becomming emotionally sick and in tears due to the force of the system. They know they are forcing their students to do things that are making children physically ill and literally vomiting in class.

Principals... are suffering and threatened with loss of their school due to closings if students don’t achieve on tests. I met one such principal this summer. She is a passionate and devoted child advocate who was fired from her post because test scores didn’t go up fast enough. The message is clear. NOTHING else matters. Test your kids till it hurts or everyone loses.  

Parents... are suffering as they watch what a system is doing to their precious children. They know something is wrong yet they’ve been convinced that the government, not their parental instincts, rule the roost when it comes to learning. Do you know how many parents write me about their children who not only are having severe emotional breakdowns, but have also attempted suicide???  Many!  This is why I support them with escapes and empower them with the information so they are aware NONE OF THIS IS NECESSARY. They can remove their child from school and move on to academic and career success as I explain in my working home educators guide for success as well as my teenager’s opt out guide.

It's time to move past the fear and wake up, get up and stand up for the rights of our children. We can no longer let the mega-billion dollar testing  and publishing industries dictate the futures of our children, our teachers, our schools.  

It’s time to take back the learning and put it where it rightfully belongs. In the hands of...

  • Teachers who are trained to do assessment as part of their jobs and want to be empowered to customize the learning and assessments to their student’s unique needs.
  • School leaders who are experienced in how to create an environment that promotes success for young people.
  • Parents who know and should have a say in what happens to their children when they are at school.
  • Students who deserve to...
    • Know that they matter
    • Know they are more than a test score
    • Be honored as having personal interests and passions and have their teachers shine a light in the direction of what that might be.

Think about it. There are no bubbles to fill when it comes to work that is worthy of the world. Work that is worthy of the world is not stuck in school buildings or behind walled garden websites. Children can and should be doing this type of work, but we are holding them back and keeping them behind. What work are you currently charged to help your children do that really matters and is worthy of and relevant in the world? If it's not a lot, then what?

Here's what I can do about it.

Our children's lives are at stake.  

What will you do?

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