In order to get the full feel of my last formal blog post you should listen to the song “Closing Times” as you read, I have been listening to it on repeat as I write this post.
This semester in Politics of Reading I have learned a great deal from this class. I have a much better understanding of policy and how it has evolved to how it is today. Educational policy such as common core and NCLB are well intended, their goals are to make schools and education in general better. Where policies go wrong is the politics behind them, and the fact that everything including education is dependent on money. Almost everything in America is politically charged, the way our government currently works gridlock limits many things to pass and legislation that is passed is often greatly watered down. Also policy does not actually take into account the opinions of people that matter when it is made. Why are current teachers not included in policy process? Honestly, though in what world does that make any sense. People with no teaching experience have more power when it comes to legislation. It is lovely that those people are lawyers or have Phd’s in philosophy, truly I am happy for you but what do you know about teaching? I think one of the only ways that education can actually improve in America is that teachers need to be valued enough to be included in the policy making process. It really comes down to the fact that teachers are not valued or viewed intelligent enough to have good opinions on policy.
Policy tries to be one size fits all, when that is impossible and just does not make sense. How can there beone way to learn or to teach when everyone is an individual. Just thinking logically I know I study differently than others so why would I assume that everyone has to learn the same way I do? Also policy is made for the most idealistic type of school, the model school, not schools that lack resources or have students who need extra attention. This finally clicked for me when I had a conversation with my Aunt Melissa who teaches first grade at a well off school in Cary. I interviewed her for the final project in this class and asked her opinions of Common Core. I expected her to be more negative about it but she said “it works well in my school, we have a lot of support and high parent involvement…there is a very low reduced lunch population and ASL population.” Common Core was made for that school which is why it works well there. Here is where many issues come from, policy does not correctly take into account school with less ideal conditions but expects them to preform just as well. Schools do not have the same resources or opportunities but are evaluated on the same level.
Besides the material of this course I learned so much from the structure of the course as well. A lot of what we did in this class was discussion based, which was great. We had a smaller group so we all were able to openly share our opinions and reflect on others as well. This openness did not mean class was a free for all, lecture and readings checked our opinions and gave us real facts and raw information. I would like to run my future classes in a similar way to this. Openness and relaxed nature made learning engaging and allowed us to self motivate, but there was still structure. Some of the other education courses I have taken at Carolina lacked the structure needed for a class to work. There has to be a balance between flexibility and structure. Politics of Reading found this equilibrium and was the best Education course I have taken at Carolina.
Thanks to everyone in this class and to anyone who read my rambling blog post!