Elsewhere on this blog, I have sung the praises of The American Educator, the quarterly published by my union, The American Federation of Teachers. Let me belabor my point a tad further here by saying that I think this is a first-rate journal of educational theory and practice; it’s where I first encountered Daniel Willingham, who really is doing as much as anyone out there (with his “Ask the Cognitive Scientist” column in The American Educator as well as his excellent books) to assist classroom teachers in applying research to practice.
The current number of the magazine addresses the issue of teaching traumatized students. I started my career working with traumatized adolescents in one of New England’s “ivy league” psychiatric hospitals, and I have continued to work with these kids as a teacher.
A discussion of this population’s needs is long, long, overdue. I cannot sufficiently or strongly encourage teachers to read this issue of The American Educator from cover to cover. This is vital stuff every teacher should know.
Here’s something I just cannot let pass.
Last year about this time, I published this blog post on the pedagogical fad of the “flipped classroom.” The theory of the flipped classroom was presented at a professional development meeting as a fait accompli several months earlier in the school in which I served. When I asked in this session about students living in homeless shelters, or in other circumstances where broadband internet is unavailable, and therefore the various videos on which the flipped classroom depends, the presenter and his administrative enablers had no answer.
So, I am not at all surprised to find in Google headlines this morning this report on the homework gap and its relation to students’ struggle in school. The culprit? Why it is none other than the absence of a reliable internet connection. My reaction? Roll “Theme from ‘The Vindicators'” by The Fleshtones.
Readers of Mark’s Text Terminal may recall that I posted this this item earlier this year about a particularly egregious incident of police violence in the dismal school in which I have worked this year.
I’m pleased to report that justice prevailed
In this instance, I hope Dr. King was right: “Let us remember the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
“The Sumerian god of water and wisdom. Enki lived near the ancient city of Eridu in his watery palace in the Abzu—probably the Persian Gulf. This god, like his later Babylonian counterpart Ea, was principally responsible for ordering the functions of the elements that affect life on earth. Cleverest of the gods, he provided the land with sweet water, fathered Uttu, the goddess of plants, found a way to rescue Inanna from the underworld, and saved mankind from extermination in the great flood. He was not, however, infallible. While in his cups, he let the goddess slip away with his “divine decrees,” which would give supremacy to her favored city of Erech instead of to Eridu. His attempt to create man was a pathetic failure, and it was left to the goddess Nintu to mold of clay a satisfactory human being.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.
[May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and during themed history months I endeavor to keep the focus on pedagogical materials related to the history of the group whose achievements and culture are observed. That said, occasionally a blog post comes along, such as the one below, that are simply too important to let pass. Jan Resseger has written cogently–I’m hard-pressed, frankly, to imagine how this case could be summarized more cogently, and I envy Ms. Resseger’s talent as a prose stylist–about the disaster that is Betsy DeVos. I believe her policies, particularly where the kinds of struggling learners I have served throughout my career are concerned, have already found a home in some schools. Indeed, the school in which I currently serve has a well-established track record of ignoring the special needs students who have enrolled in it.]
It surprised me to hear the word “clickbait” in Betsy DeVos’s working vocabulary. I wonder if it wasn’t put into her speech—on Monday in Baltimore at the Education Writers Association’s annual meeting—by one of her more with-it staffers. I confess that as a retired person, I was slow several years ago to grasp the meaning of the term, but as a blogger I know I paid attention, even before I knew the word, to the number of people who click on posts about particular topics. I realize, of course, that my purpose is to do justice, not to pay attention to the number of clicks on different subjects, but like all writers who post on-line, I notice. And I grieve about the paucity of clicks on worthy topics.
As you have, no doubt, heard by now, Betsy DeVos went to the Education Writers Association and asked the nation’s education journalists…
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