A New Reading Level

Once school resumes in the fall, I will not be at UNC anymore (sad, I know). Instead, I will begin my graduate education at the University of Minnesota (cold, I know). I will be in their school psychology program, and I intend on becoming a school psychologist once I finish the program and graduate.

But before that, I’ll do two internships this summer. The first is with the Ayn Rand Institute in California, and the other is with a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting good character in schools.

And even before those happenings, I’m going to graduate from UNC, which I am beyond excited about! It has been a wonderful four years that have flown by faster than I ever could have imagined.

So why am I talking about my life? Because I want to detail how one of my education classes, Educ 390: The Politics of Reading, has impacted (and/or will play a role) in my life from here on out. I’ll work my way up.

Graduation

# 1: In the weeks following the conclusion of a semester, I think that’s when I have the most room for throwing out facts and acronyms with a smooth and shocking accuracy. We’ve talked about NCLB, Standardized tests, and the NRP, and my knowledge has reached a new height because of the course. As time goes on, the hard-lying facts might become fuzzy traces of what they once were, but there will be a lot that will stay with me.

# 2: Blogs. No, I probably won’t maintain my own blog once this semester is over, but I definitely have a handful of blogs that I’m fond of now because of our course assignments. It was actually one of my goals coming into the course – to find a blog to read semi-regularly (at least once a week). And not too surprisingly, that goal has been met.

# 3: I can answer the “so what did you learn?” questions – though, when they’re specific to this course, they usually sound like “What are the politics of reading?”

Summer & Internships

# 1: Remember how I said I wouldn’t blog? Well, I won’t. BUT it appears to be a useful skill to have – especially for the workplace. I know that one of my duties with the nonprofit will be contributing to their blog over the course of the summer. It’s a good thing I’ve been able to blog all semester.

# 2: I will spend some time at home this summer, and I’ll be sure to talk to my family about the course. One conversation that I know will happen will be with my oldest nephew – I just want to see his face when I tell him about the opt-out movement. I also want to talk to my 6 year old nephew about his thoughts on learning to read. Last time I checked in with him, there was a lot of memorization going on (sort of like the Dick and Jane readers to me).

Grad School & Beyond

# 1: The class really altered my scope on the place of testing and perceptions about how much we trust teachers. From here on out, I’ll likely be critical concerning how theories and practices empower or disenfranchise educators.

# 2: School psychologists are traditionally known for their expertise in testing, and that’s especially true for UMN school psych grads. I don’t think it’ll ever leave my mind that low-income and minority students are often bombarded with all kinds of tests (standardized and psychological) that take away from their learning time and its quality. As I progress through my education, I’ll seek answers to the question: “What can we do about testing?”

Conclusions

I registered for The Politics of Reading because it seemed interesting to me, and I was curious to learn more about reading research and issues. Fortunately enough – I learned all of that and more. I’m grateful for all that I was able to learn in this class. It’s been a good experience.

So long!

[Casper Rhay, Q3]

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