[EDEQUITY] Re: Boys and School Article

From: Barbara Pace (bgpace@edu15.coe.ufl.edu)
Date: Mon May 22 2000 - 09:40:33 EDT

  • Next message: anichols: "[EDEQUITY] Re: Boys and School Article"

    Thank you for sharing this letter.
    As a teacher educator, I am so weary of the fight with
    politicians about schooling. The kinds of activities that
    all children and adolescents need are not that hard to figure out
    IF the people who studied education were given any power
    to do what their years of training and research have indicated needs
    to be done. But we are NOT given that power. Take, for instance,
    the widely held notion that reading scores are declining. Not true. What
    is true is that they have only moved a few points on a 500 point scale
    over the last several decades. (These statistics are available at the US.
    DOE web site.) Nevertheless, politicians have beaten this drum and used
    to gain greater control over educational processes. They control schooling
    by mandating tests that measure the most superficial skills and the lowest
    levels of critical thinking. Teachers who do not comply and teach to
    these tests are in danger of having their salaries cut (in Colorado and
    in several other states) or of being penalized in some way.
    I would never suggest that all teachers are terrific, but I do want to say
    that many teachers are very good. I find it very sad that we are living in
    time when we are both controlling the women (and about 95% of them in
    elementary education
    are women) who teach and then chastising them when what
    they do seems stupid. I talk with teachers every day who are frustrated by
    regulations that they know are harmful to kids, who want desparately to
    leave teaching, who deal with disrespect at every turn, who are being made
    stand before kids they care about and read scripts that are
    "teacher-proof." Some
    of the standards observers use to evaluate "good" teaching, actually
    teachers if they depart from the lesson to comment on any personal issue,
    such as welcoming a
    student back to class who has been out sick! (no kidding)
    I am so tired of hearing us (the culture as a whole) blame the victims who
    have been socialized to select teaching as a career, and who now are being
    used as scapegoats that can be beat up and controlled by those who
    criticize them
    for political gain.
    I also find it sad that the "fight" in education over gender always winds
    being dichotomizing. If we do things that help girls we are cheating boys!
    If we
    help boys we are cheating girls. The point of thinking about gender in
    regard to
    education is to recognize that there are inequities, that these inequities
    consequences, and that these inequities merit attention and and an honest
    search for
    solutions. The problem is that politicians thwart those searchers in order
    to craft a sound bite
    and to control what happens in every child's classroom.

    "Barbara Pace" <bgpace@edu15.coe.ufl.edu>

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