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Ed Webb

What teachers really want to tell parents - - 12 views

  • if I get an offer to lead a school system of orphans, I will be all over it, but I just can't deal with parents anymore; they are killing us
  • if you really want to help your children be successful, stop making excuses for them
  • it's OK for your child to get in trouble sometimes. It builds character and teaches life lessons. As teachers, we are vexed by those parents who stand in the way of those lessons; we call them helicopter parents because they want to swoop in and save their child every time something goes wrong. If we give a child a 79 on a project, then that is what the child deserves. Don't set up a time to meet with me to negotiate extra credit for an 80. It's a 79, regardless of whether you think it should be a B+
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  • Before you challenge those low grades you feel the teacher has "given" your child, you might need to realize your child "earned" those grades and that the teacher you are complaining about is actually the one that is providing the best education
  • more and more lawyers are accompanying parents for school meetings dealing with their children
  • never talk negatively about a teacher in front of your child. If he knows you don't respect her, he won't either
Ed Webb

What's Wrong With the American University System - Culture - The Atlantic - 6 views

  • it's awfully difficult to say, "Here's knowledge we don't need!" It sounds like book burning, doesn't it? What we'd say is that on the scale of priorities, we find undergraduate teaching to be more important than all the research being done.
  • Those people were teachers, in the true sense of the word. They were just as knowledgeable about their fields as anyone, but they had playful, imaginative minds. They could go on TV—Carl Sagan could talk about science, John Kenneth Galbraith could talk about economics. They weren't dumbing down their subjects. In fact, they were actually using their brains. The more you rely on lingo—"regressive discourses," "performativity"—the less you have to really think. You can just throw terms around and say, "Look, Ma, I'm a theorist!"
  • We believe the current criteria for admissions—particularly the SAT—are just so out of whack. It's like No Child Left Behind. It really is. It's one of the biggest crimes that's ever been perpetrated. I mean, you took the SAT! It's multiple choice, a minute and quarter per question. What does it really test? It tests how good you are at taking tests! At a big university like Berkeley, where there are going to be 30,000 applications, here's what they do. On top of each folder, without even reading through it, they write your SAT score. That's the first winnowing. So the 1600s get looked at first, and then down from there.
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  • One of the things that I find scariest at the moment is that so many bright people have no conception at all of life for any people but those in the upper middle class and above. They live a sheltered suburban life, go to college with other sheltered suburban kids, and assume that everyone's life has been like theirs. Some years ago a relative of mine graduated from Cambridge. I asked what his classmates would be doing after graduation and he said "management consulting." These were very bright people with zero experience in the business world who had spent the last three years barely able to manage their binge drinking, let alone manage any business. I'd trust the high school grad who rose through the ranks way more than these bright young things.
Ed Webb

SpeEdChange: The Parent Trap - 6 views

  • The third group is more difficult to discuss, and I don't want to dismiss or demean, but I think of them as "the colonized." These are people from traditionally out-of-power groups who have decided to fully "play the game" of their oppressors. They tend to wear the charter school ideology around their necks the way certain Nigerians and Indians and other "citizens of the Empire" in the early 20th Century donned British powdered wigs and joined the colonial governments.

    It is tough to argue with much of what they say: They are looking to "save kids now." To open "real opportunities." To build "within the realities we have." And to argue with this is to engage in that oldest of battles among the colonized - do we achieve freedom and power on "their" terms, or "ours." Do we want our children to grow up as -and this will depend on the argument you are making - Brits and citizens of the world/Second-class Brits or to grow up as Nigerians, Indians, South Africans, Irish, Israelis/poor separatists in a global economy.

    As with most great issues, the answers are not clear cut, not "black and white," as they say. We want our identities, we want freedom and possibility based in our culture, and yet, yes, we also live and work in a world designed and controlled by the powerful.

    So when people like @dropoutnation argue for charters and vouchers as their "answer," it is not just a matter of being co-opted. They have convinced themselves that this is the only logical solution in the world they see now. And I can argue for greater faith in the future, for greater faith in diverse communities, but altering someone's fundamental world view is tough.
  • The common characteristics that I find in what I describe as "the best schools" (see primary and secondary), that is, schools which "work" for the broadest range of students, is student choice. These are schools which help students discover their path, not their parents' path. These are schools which are willing to help students find success even if their parents are incapable, or destructive, or just uninterested.

    Parent choice - the concept of charters and vouchers - is socially reproductive from the start.
  • great public schools have student choice. No two classes in the same grade or subject should be anything alike. No common reading lists or classroom management. No common grading system. No common organization. Ideally, even schedules should vary. Only with that kind of choice can students find what they need, not what even the most well-meaning adults find for them.

    And great public schools are being made impossible by "choice" advocates, who pull a certain segment of students out of the mix, reducing workable choices for those left behind.

    I'm a parent, and I like parents. But I've also known all kinds of parents, and I value children too much to leave all the decisions in parental hands.
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