A Different Definition for Connected

Jose Vilson Education, Resources

Linda Darling-Hammond at the Celebration for Teaching and Learning

I‘m still reading Linda Darling-Hammond’s A Professorial Whoop-Ass on Equity The Flat World and Education: How America’s Commitment to Equity Will Determine Our Future, and the points of view I’ve formed or had formed are constantly reaffirmed by this work of love from LDH. Check the following chunk:

Close connections between students and their teachers are most markedly absent in the large urban schools most low-incoming students of color attend. These schools are run like huge warehouses, housing 3,000 or more students in an organization focused substantially on the control of behavior rather than the development of community. With a locker as their only stable point of contact, young people cycle through a series of seven to nine overloaded teachers and areyl get to see the school counselor who struggles to serve the “personal needs” of hundreds of students. In this setting, students struggling to find connections have little to connect to. Heavily stratified within, and substantially dehumanized throughout, most students are likely to experience such high schools as noncaring, even adversarial environments where “getting over” becomes important when “being known” is impossible. Students perceive that the system is structured for not caring. A New York City dropout from a large, comprehensive high school described his experience this way: “At one time school was important to me. I liked getting good grades and making my parents proud of me. (But in high school) I never felt part of the school. It didn’t make no difference if I was there or not. The teachers just threw me aside, probably because I was Spanish. I felt like I was being ignored, like I wasn’t important.”

Pieces like this smack the faces of those who believe in numbers-driven progress. Also something to think about as many of us prepare for our state exams. No matter how many children pass, they’ll all get left behind if we’re not the shepherds we need to be for all students.

In other words, wake the hell up.

Jose, who believes Martin Luther King Jr. would have nodded along to this …