Did you see the article last week in the Chicago Tribune about changing No Child Left Behind (NCLB) to a standard that would measure student progress each year rather than demand that all students meet the same standards?
The article includes a quote that says “There are things that get in the way of learning that schools have no control over.” To me, this let’s the teacher and the school off the hook! If this new way of measuring school performance gets accepted, schools in high poverty neighborhoods, or with large numbers of ESL students, can use this as an excuse for not doing the extra work needed to help these kids rise to an equal level of learning. The result would be to abandon efforts to improve education attainment. It would further institutionalize a permanent underclass in America.
Right now the Chicago Public School’s education policy makes little strategic commitment to forming non-school learning, mentoring and social/emotional support systems that would counter the negative influences of poverty and send kids to school every-day better prepared to learn. If the system moves to adequate yearly process there will be no motivation for school leaders to focus on what happens during the non-school hours.
Is this a concern? How are you using the Internet to connect with others who have similar concerns? I presented a workshop in a virtual conference last Saturday. The archive is at http://www.alado.net/webheads. I encourage you to take a look, and to review some of the other presentations that were part of the Nov. 18 to 20 Webheads in Action international convergence. One workshop demonstrated the use of the Internet to send out public radio broadcasts. Another demonstrated the use of blogs for learning.
If we can harness these technologies and make them available at schools and in community based organizations, we can empower our kids with tools that give them a voice and enable them to take a lead in mobilizing adults to do more of what adults should do to mentor them into our next generation of leaders.
If the schools and government leaders and major foundations don’t make this a priority, it’s up to those who meet via the Internet to provide the tools and elearning platforms that might make it possible for small, isolated, community-based organizations to build a networked community that increases non-school learning and career development opportunities for kids throughout the world.
As we give thanks this week for our blessings, please remember those who have less and need your help.