Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Educational Reform through Simplicity

Our life is frittered away by detail . . .  simplify, simplify. —Henry David Thoreau
I’ve always loved Henry David Thoreau, and although we cannot all go and live at Walden Pond to simplify our lives, I believe we should examine our educational system by heeding his advice.
I have been teaching in North Carolina for 19 years, and during this time the teaching profession has been assailed by a blurry assembly line of quick fixes and “innovative ideas” that were supposed to “turn it all around.” These programs or products are usually acronyms, and invariably they are tried for a brief moment and discarded as the next shiny package makes its way down the line.
I first taught in a county that was dedicated to TQE (Total Quality Education) based on TQM (total quality management). Every classroom had to have a Plus Delta Board and a lot of sticky notes (flow charts were also big, and I don’t know why or how they are different from a graphic organizer.) As I stayed in the profession, we were then subjected to ABCs (Accountability, Basic Skills, Control). They paid us if we made growth, but that went away when the money ran out. Then there was OBE (Outcome Based Education), ML (Mastery Learning), and PBL (Project Based Learning). Then powerful educational advocacy groups believed that smaller learning communities (SLC) were the answer, so my school received a grant and implemented them. The money ran out, and now the smaller learning communities are gone.

No comments:

Post a Comment