Sunday, January 17, 2010

Break out the Kool-Aid!

Big news around here is that our school met the state's requirements for NCLB this year. Unless brain surgery becomes more advanced, though, we're doomed by 2014, as are all public schools.

We got the expected slew of emails: "commitment" led to "lofty dividends," we have "pride" and "satisfaction," and for the administration, this must be one heap of steaming relief after a long streak of just missing the cut-off.

It's a heap of steaming relief for me, too--it means that for at least one more year, I can teach unscripted lessons based on real observations, real science, real thinking.

We've gotten so ingrained to AYP we've forgotten just what it is that we accomplished--most of our kids passed a test designed by God knows who to measure God knows what.

Our property values are preserved. Our administration will avoid "Ring Around the Rosie." The townsfolk believe they're getting their money's worth. The budget gets passed.

Any thrill beyond "Whew, that gets the state off our backs," however, is misplaced. No sense giving the AYP nonsense any more gravitas than what it deserves. The emperor has no clothes. There, I said it.

It is nice, though, not to have to explain to my neighbor why we don't suck.

The image is from a woodcut, so I figure it's well past copyright issues.
Who does woodcutting anymore? Who grinds flour?
Who reads these acknowledgments?


Jenny said...

I always read the acknowledgments. For some reason they bring me joy.

doyle said...

Dear Jenny,

...and joy is good!
(I'm glad someone reads the fineprint.)

Kathryn J said...

I read all of it including the acknowledgments.

In addition to the AYP, NCLP, and other acronyms indicating that our students aren't meeting goals, the mayor has now announced that he wants oversight too. Our administrators are now playing ring around the rosie with the feds, the state, and now the mayor.

Why isn't anybody talking about the students needs? 80% of my students live below the poverty level; I am teaching in an art room with no science supplies. I have been told that I might get a SmartBoard. I would rather have lab equipment or money for a field trip.

doyle said...

Dear Kathryn,

Arne talks of data, and there's the big piece of steaming, fresh stuff sitting on the board room table, stinking to high heaven--poverty affects kids.

Who'd've thunk it?

Arne saw a tiny sliver of the Chicago population in his mother's tutoring program. a self-selected one at that. And now he's the emperor.

If we talked about the students' needs, we might have to fix them--and that's expensive. Easier to make a career slamming others.

A shame.

Unknown said...

Most of the folks in Jonestown had no intention of drinking the Kool-Aid. They came in hopes of paradise and ended with armed machine-gunners. Kids died first, parents next.

I need to remember this, because the Kool-Aid is passed out coercively and it's often the kids who are forced to drink it first.

I know this is a dark comment, but it's a subject I take seriously.

doyle said...

Dear John,

It's something that needs to be taken seriously.

We are spiraling into a vortex of nonsense, and we see it happening, yet let it happen anyway.

For all my softening of the story, I agree with you. We are altering the lives of children. I do not know how some folks sleep at night.

Sarah Cannon said...

Sometimes I read the acknowledgments and realize I only skimmed the rest of the article.

Also, I know people with gristmills for grits, but not sure who grinds flour.

doyle said...

Dear Sarah,

I've fallen out of the habit, but when I make bread, I grind wheat berries first.

(I've never ground grist, though I have cracked barley for brewing. Anyone who's ground wheat berries has a better appreciation of the strength of our forebears.)

Now you got me thinking about grits....