Glorified Hamster Wheels
I went and saw one of my former students in jail this past weekend. Hakeem has been sentenced to 23 years with no chance of parole. He was arrested when he was 17. He still looked like the 6th grader I knew. Same smile. A number of new tattoos. I wasn’t sure how this was going to go. I’m not good at small talk under normal situations. The stakes are raised when you haven’t seen the person in about 6 years and they only have 30 minutes of contact with non-prisoners a week. The poor reception on the phone didn’t help anything but Hakeem seemed happy enough to see me that it didn’t seem to matter. We talked. Apparently I need a hair cut because he thinks I look like Tom Brady. Hakeem also let me know that half my class is now in jail. He listed too many of those kids and what they were arrested for. It’s not like I’m totally naive, I figured a number of those kids would end up in jail but each name I heard knocked me down another notch. The whole thing has been eating at me more and more. So many people failed these kids.
Q Fifteen years. THE PRESIDENT: Fifteen years. Okay, so you've been teaching for 15 years. I'll bet you'll admit that during those 15 years there have been a couple of teachers that you've met — you don't have to say their names — (laughter) — who you would not put your child in their classroom. (Laughter.) See? Right? You're not saying anything. (Laughter.) You're taking the Fifth. (Laughter.) My point is that if we've done everything we can to improve teacher pay and teacher performance and training and development, some people just aren't meant to be teachers, just like some people aren't meant to be carpenters, some people aren't meant to be nurses. At some point they've got to find a new career. And it can't be impossible to move out bad teachers, because that brings — that makes everybody depressed in a school, if there are some folks — and it makes it harder for the teachers who are inheriting these kids the next year for doing their job. So there's got to be some accountability measures built in to this process. But I'm optimistic that we can make real progress on this front. But it's going to take some time. All right? via The White House – Press Office – Remarks by the President at “Open for Questions” […]
Mr. Guhlin asked “How have laptop programs helped?” and the responses depressed me. Maybe, I’m over analyzing but quote like “Imagine anything one could do on an overhead projector. You can do the same on a tablet if you have an LCD.” brought me close to tears. Clearly, replacing an overhead and pen with several thousands of dollars worth of equipment to do “the same” is not a cost efficient trade. Other quotes that made me wince: my laptop/tablet has replaced a paper notebook during meetings. Have students do grammar exercises. Math teachers do the same. Not exactly what you’d want to hear if you’re paying for those laptops. Now, I also realize these are quick reports but I don’t see anything in there about students doing anything they couldn’t do with paper for far less money.Â The whole point of a 1:1 is to get students producing with laptops and to have no comment on that worries me. Don’t get me wrong- I’m for 1:1 initiatives and that’s why I’m concerned. I work in a district going on the 6th year of a 1:1 initiative and I worry that some teachers might give similar “proof” that our program is working. So here’s how our 1:1 has helped students in our school- everyone now has a computer no matter their […]