See these precious little girls? One of them is my granddaughter. This is why I continue to write. There is a world she will inherit from us. We owe her better.
This challenge brought this response from me. "How does someone head up and shape education when they don't even know what IDEA is? She has had zero experience and is not a proponent of public education."
Just thought I would share and encourage you to support Betsy DeVos. Our children deserve expanded opportunities.
There is a lot of legislation governing our schools that needs to be rethought. We have a mission to teach children reading, writing and arithmetic, cultural literacy, respect for our country and its institutions, and they are not getting that! Since the late sixties, socialization and one group's version of social justice has been the goal of those in control of our Department of Education and in the colleges of education.
I got truly disillusioned as a teacher whose parents spent good money for me to get an education at the University of Alabama. As a teacher in a poor county school system, I encountered students who had A's and B's throughout elementary school who COULD NOT decode words in their secondary textbooks. Their limited little rolodex of words taught by the Whole Language method had also limited their understanding of the world and their ability to acquire higher education. I studied books teaching teachers and found nothing to support Whole Language but reams of studies supporting SIDE (systematic, direct and early) phonics, yet somehow the entire curriculum had been stood on its head by what Dean Kunkel called "current wisdom." I saw more of this with the implementation of the Four Period Day and Block Scheduling. And once again with the Conflict Resolution Curriculum and DARE. No empirical studies were used to determine the effectiveness on a standard parents would approve. Just affective testimonials of how people "felt" about it.
How much more of what is sold to teachers as effective in teaching children is only more of "current wisdom"?
Many of those children will be unemployable, condemned to welfare and poverty, and I would be complicit in this atrocity if I did not speak up! I can tell you it has cost me. Friends. Jobs. Just be quiet, Sharman. There's nothing you can do, so don't speak out! But my Christian upbringing demanded that I speak out against the injustice of curriculum that actually produces learning disabilities.
Look at the effectiveness of Marva Collins' schools in the inner city of Chicago and John Winston's school where with the simple implementation of the Spalding Writing Road to Reading developed by Romalda Spalding who studied under Samuel Orton, founder of the Dyslexia Society, brought a school serving 3 housing projects and a 98% minority population from the 25th percentile to the 80th percentile and dyslexic children from 45 to 3 -- and a decline in disciplinary problems! Winston was given a mandate to do whatever it took so he took his teachers to a seminar to learn the method (a book, a piece of chalk and a good teacher) and they reluctantly complied. By the end of the first semester they were sold.
Ask yourself why school systems adopt curriculum that comes with remedial materials and reject cheaper ones that do NOT come with remedial materials -- like the old Open Court readers.
I am tired of teachers blaming parents and not enough money. Maybe the problem is with old ideas that didn't work in the first place yet they get reprocessed with another name sold by someone with a clean shirt and a briefcase usually from out of town that costs an arm and leg.
Educratese is just another way of intimidating those who want to think outside of the box. What do you mean when you say "public education"? Does that include children, or just the administrators and teachers who want to continue as things are? Don't rock the boat. Politics, profit, promotions, and prestige within the profession and among colleagues too often determine policy.
Perhaps "public education" should empower parents who know what their children need. And that is what Betsy Devos wants to do.
This is what I saw in action as a teacher in "public" education and a parent who had children in "public" schools.