Saturday, February 23, 2019

the child data industry...

Yesterday in our staff meeting at the Clear Spring School, we read an article from Mother Jones about  the effectiveness of pre-school.

The educational policy makers argue back and forth on both sides of the issue, and in the meantime, the assessment of growth in children has been removed from teachers and parents and put into the hands of a child data industry that relies on periodically administered standardized tests, and costs an amazing amount of money. The worse part, however, is that parents and teachers are no longer trusted parts of the assessment process. And children are treated as data and not as human beings.

We took our golden doodle Rosie to Camp Bow Wow, a doggie day care. Rosie loved it. She ran around and around with other dogs. Through an app we were able to watch her activities on our iPhones. There were no planned learning exercises. The staff observed and removed dogs that got grumpy, and they, using pooper scoopers, cleaned up the mess left by about twenty dogs having great fun.

Some pre-schools for kids are like that. The staff in doggy day care were high school and college students given just a bit of training. And then there are pre-schools in which well-trained teachers plan lessons, and provide opportunities carefully timed for the children's growth. And so not all pre-schools are the same.

At one time, trained teachers were also trained in the cues of child development. These days, we seem to prefer that growth be measured at a distance, by the testing industry. How very stupid we've become. Learning is one of the basic functions of a human being. This applies to children just as surely as it does to someone now reading this blog.

Yesterday at the Clear Spring School, my upper elementary school students worked on the bridge joining the athletic field to the new hands-on learning center. My Kindergarten students made pinwheels. As is always the case, they chose to color them with markers and add additional pieces of wood to create a custom effect.

Make, fix, and create.

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