Dis is no way to make sure kids is edjucated
STANDARDS, schmandards. They're sooooo confusing. Don't you think someone should shed light on "standards-based curriculum"? You know, really put it in a nutshell. Like, something so simplistic even a kid could understand.
This extraordinary encapsulation would require an extraordinary mind. Luckily I've got nothing else to do right now. Dear student, here it is: When you enter a class, you'll be taught a lesson. The lesson will have a standard. If you meet the standard, you pass. If you don't meet the standard, you pass.
And now for the adults. If you enjoy watching reruns of "The Twilight Zone," you can relate to my life as a teacher in the state Department of Education.
The profession is called "education." Therefore I, as an actual educator, am the least important. Every other position deigns to reign over this vacillating vassal. The lowest caste in a lake of lures, but we ain't fish. Actual educators are sheep -- easily herded. What we wanna do is jump. Through hoops. Then we wanna ask, "How high?"
I'm definitely like a sheep: wanting to please, easily herded due to barking, but finding hoops tough to leap. And due to wool, I'm overheated. But that's the point. Set us up to fail, then blame us when we do. This is the ideal scenario.
WE TEACH, but we also do the administration's job (consequence infractions), the parents' job (feed kids peanuts 'cause they've had no breakfast, mother them about basic responsibilities like bringing a pencil to class) and the counselor's job (talk surrealistically about the kids' choices in life).
The problem is, no administrator, parent or counselor is offering to do MY job: teach English to eighth-graders, 53 percent of whom read at second- to fifth-grade level, and 90 percent of whom love noise.
From here on I'll call bossy humans who "advise" actual educators, but don't teach class themselves, "leaders of education." Or I'll refer to 'em as "ed leaders" (for variety). Anyway, let's go to work!
Entering the DOE bustle at 7:25 a.m., I hear an ed leader say, "Da keeds is da important ones at dis school!" This leader is admonishing an actual educator who apparently wants some rights.
Turning the corner, another leader of education says, "Well, share what you have wrote."
Another says, "The student should've went to the office with the marijuana."
A slip in my box advises me to make a list of "students who was absent." This note is from an education leader.
The problem with being an actual educator who is actually educated: I feel like a raggedy vessel cast adrift, floundering in the spatial light of garbage indestructible, and destined -- alas -- for imminent cataclysm, or at least destined for some oblique corner of "The Twilight Zone" ... because I'm already there.
A leader of reconstruction stands before me and some others. The leader admits that the Quarter One testing "prompts" were bad. A minute later the leader also admits that Quarter One's testing was invalid. At $400,000 a year for the "curriculum for hire" company, I wonder if $100,000 will be returned. It won't.
THE PEOPLE I've made fun of here won't successfully sue me, because they would have to prove that they're truly as uneducated as I claim they are. And that their friends and family will read this derogatory screed, recognize them and scoff ... resulting in the denigration of their quality of life.
I'll take my chances. Leaders of education aren't nearly that smart.
And now, as I promised ... standards in a nutshell. Students: If you don't meet the standard, you pass. Leaders of education: If you can't master fourth-grade grammar, no worry. Leaders of reconstruction: Keep the money; what the heck, it's a capitalist's society.
Walt Novak has been a Hawaii public school teacher since 1981.