Wednesday, September 21, 2011

sh!t arne says

We also want you to enjoy so many other enriching experiences that are so important to a complete education. We know you have great music, art, and physical education teachers at your school, and we believe that these subjects are essential for a well-rounded curriculum. And so is recess. We want you to have fun!
Arne Duncan

Arne, I'm really happy for you that your kids attend a great school that provides them with such a rich educational experience. I truly heart how you think music, art, physical education and recess are important! That your children's elementary school actually has teachers for those subjects is remarkable! And Arne, though it may be hard for us to believe, it would appear that we actually agree on something! How 'bout that?

But here's the thing, Arne. Schools in my city don't have such enriching experiences for our children. (BTW - Elementary schools in my city have NEVER had specialized teachers for music, art, or physical education.) And thanks to NCLB and RTTT, rich educational experiences are not part of my kindergarteners' day. While your kids are rockin' their rich educational experiences, my 25 students' day looks like this:

  8:35 - Greeting, roll, lunch count, news
  8:55 - English Language Development
  9:25 - Learning to Read, Word Work, Writing & Language
10:25 - Strategic Support for English Language Arts
10:40 - Nutrition Break
10:55 - Math
11:25 - Strategic Support for Math
11:45 - Lunch
12:15 - Dismissal

Yep. Welcome to my world! Tell me, Arne, does the above look like a rich educational experience for my 4 and 5 year olds?  (Hint: Hell to the no!) Instead, our world delivers to America's future a "Sit-down-Shut-up-Listen-and-remember" educational experience. We have one workbook for Language Arts, one workbook for English Language Development, and two workbooks for Math. Lots of seat time and paper and pencil activities for these young learners. Sadly, you probably don't even get why this is a bad thing. And why don't you get that? ANSWER: BECAUSE YOU AREN'T A TEACHER! Not to mention you've never studied education theory or child development. Other than photo ops, public schools haven't really been part of your life experience - especially high poverty public schools.

So Arne, it just seems that every time you open your mouth you say something that is guaranteed to piss me off. Our mandated curricula sucks. It's developmentally inappropriate, narrow narrow narrow, greatly irrelevant (I mean who cares what a possessive pronoun is, anyway? Srsly!) and BORING! And thanks to the stupid sh!t you keep promoting through your Federal Education Bribery Schemes... Well, regarding irrelevant, boring education... I'm thinking we ain't seen nothin' yet!

I have no faith in you, Arne, as the Secretary of Education for our nation. Maybe I'd look more kindly on you if you'd put your own kids in one of the many high poverty DC public schools near your workplace and let them experience all the richness that our test prep factories have to offer. Hey, you can even put them in one of those high poverty DC charter schools you're so enamored with, hopefully in a classroom with a Teach for America 'teacher'! You know, one of those best and brightest! If you did that, then maybe I'd believe that you think that what you're doing IS what's best for kids.

Come on, Arne. I dare you!

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