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Short Notes: Why We Shouldn’t Grade Schools

by Jose Vilson on November 25, 2012

in Short Notes

Before I proceed, dozens of people from various school districts have told me that my site is blocked on their school computers. In the event that it is, you can always get my articles via e-mail by signing up on the right-hand side of this blog or by subscribing via RSS for my savvy readers, also on the right-hand side.  They can block my site’s URL, but they can’t block your e-mails or your RSS reader.

A few notes:

Quotable:

“Yesterday, we had a nice conversation on Twitter [with regards to] experience, newbies, and challenges in teaching profession. It’s been a busy semester and what I share online is to try to bridge understanding as to what’s happening on the ground level, the ground zero of education reform, [namely] the school. So I share this: whose fault is it that a rambunctious classroom wreaks havoc on a campus? The teacher, the admin, the school, the system? We have a math/science shortage in the U.S. so we import teachers in these areas from the Philippines where [their education] system is vastly different. They arrive in South Central [Los Angeles], shell-shocked. The district mandates struggling readers to take a prescribed curriculum, READ 180.

Students are grouped together because behavior issues are strongly correlated to reading difficulties. By end of the day, kids are up to no good. The teacher new to the country struggles. [There's no money] for mentors, no money for appropriate number of admins to supervise teachers adequately, plus a language barrier. Do we expect such students to not throw chairs, not say f**k you to staff members before eight in the morning, or not throw bloody maxi pads around? So, in conclusion, experience matters, but so does a well-funded educational system, community resources to combat poverty and empathy by all.

- Martha Infante, emphasis and brackets mine

Jose

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For a while, you’ve been told of this magical manuscript in the works now for the last two years. If you’re still here after waiting that long, congratulations. As a gift for your perseverance and dedication, I present to you an excerpt of said manuscript, sponsored by Middleweb.com:

One time I kept the kids after school because they kept uttering the n-word. Rosa Parks had died the day before, and I got so furious to hear it spoken aloud that I had a tutorial on why I feel the way I do about it. I shut the door, and wrote the word on the blackboard. Silence. “Now, you listen to me. We didn’t fight for you to sit here where you can get an opportunity to do better for yourselves and your communities so you could use this language around each other.” It’s one of the standard diatribes we concerned folk have, and what amazed me was that, soon after, the whole school learned of this lesson. 7H3 spread it. They slapped people’s shoulders when they used the n-word around me. The amount of respect they had for me personally stirred me, even when many of them didn’t try as hard as they could academically. They reciprocated the dedication I had to them two-fold. I was tough but they understood why.

For more, read here and comment there!

Thanks again for your continued support.

Jose, who can’t believe his fortunes …