"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Refocusing LAUSD on reading and learning instead of testing

First published on Robert D. Skeels for School Board on November 24, 2012.


It's difficult to explain exactly what being poor is all about, or why access to books and ideas might be as important as a free breakfast. — Walter Dean Myers

The Power of Reading by Stephen KrashenHope Is an Open Book, an op-ed piece by author Walter Dean Myers, was tweeted this morning by educator Susan Ohanian. While written in 2005, Myers' message about access to books is profound and even more urgent today with canned corporate education solutions that narrow curriculum dominating policy. Sadly, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is run by a Superintendent who neither values books, nor libraries. This has to change, and change quickly. We need to shutdown LAUSD's testing-industrial-complex and reopen both our school and classroom libraries. Reopening libraries also means rehiring credentialed librarian-educators. We can pay for that by ditching discredited and expensive attempts to tie teacher evaluations to test scores (VAM/AGT) and use the millions of squandered dollars associated with them. Read with your children, read in front of your children, and let them choose their own reading materials. It's a proven formula for fostering authentic life-long learning.

Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) is a well researched methodology in which students are allowed to choose their own reading materials. Professor Stephen Krashen and his colleagues have found that "[r]ecreational reading or reading for pleasure is the major source of our reading competence, our vocabulary, and our ability to handle complex grammatical constructions." The Power of Reading, Second Edition: Insights from the Research is an excellent text to familiarize oneself with the concepts and research behind FVR.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you Robert Skeels!! for promoting the biggest classroom in the school -- the library. And of course, recreational reading for pleasure which the deformers totally negate.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree with everything mentioned in this article. However, it is a continuing meme during a time of great crisis for public schools. Since this article appears within a forum of educators, it is singing to the choir.

    As educators, we are well aware of what is needed. We need to be aiming our messages to the parents, students, and communities at-large. We need to organize in our fight against the corporate model and take over of public education. Public school defense funds need be aggregated, superPACs incorporated.

    We know what's not right as to what direction our country is leading public schools--to corporate, privatization models owned and operated by Wall Street and misguided government policy.

    Privatization of public education has made great strides since Walter Myers first published "Hope is an Open Book." And its welcome reception has been amongst mostly those in the educational community.

    Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) has been proven to be a most effective tool for improved student process and its incorporation does lead to greater levels of literacy and comprehension. But our aim, as we face the current crisis of public school closures and narrowed curriculum, value added measures which are designed to lend corporate control of our public schools, should be to move this fight out to the people.

    While the information in this post is of great value, the only way public schools can retain, claw back, librarians, widen curriculum, bring teachers back into classrooms supported by a strong union, is by taking this to the public. We need to increase pubic education's presence to the public itself. Where are the national PSA's? Public schools is a fight for its life. The discourse needs to move into the realm of organizing, oppositional strategies, and civil disobedience

    ReplyDelete
  3. I agree with everything mentioned in this article. However, it is a continuing meme during a time of great crisis for public schools. Since this article appears within a forum of educators, it is singing to the choir.

    As educators, we are well aware of what is needed. We need to be aiming our messages to the parents, students, and communities at-large. We need to organize in our fight against the corporate model and take over of public education. Public school defense funds need be aggregated, superPACs incorporated.

    We know what's not right as to what direction our country is leading public schools--to corporate, privatization models owned and operated by Wall Street and misguided government policy.

    Privatization of public education has made great strides since Walter Myers first published "Hope is an Open Book." And its welcome reception has been amongst mostly those in the educational community.

    Free Voluntary Reading (FVR) has been proven to be a most effective tool for improved student process and its incorporation does lead to greater levels of literacy and comprehension. But our aim, as we face the current crisis of public school closures and narrowed curriculum, value added measures which are designed to lend corporate control of our public schools, should be to move this fight out to the people.

    While the information in this post is of great value, the only way public schools can retain, claw back, librarians, widen curriculum, bring teachers back into classrooms supported by a strong union, is by taking this to the public. We need to increase pubic education's presence to the public itself. Where are the national PSA's? Public schools is a fight for its life. The discourse needs to move into the realm of organizing, oppositional strategies, and civil disobedience

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks so much for sharing this! The "canned corporate solutions" are extremely difficult to manage in this profession. The district in which I am employed contracts with an educational consulting company. They are complete sell-outs and only see the dollar sign. Hopefully, things will change.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Kendall V.2:17 AM

    Things will change as we collaborate within our communities and not just amongst ourselves.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Check out the Bartlbyproject.com for more info on how to beat testing and get teachers back to teaching children instead to tests.
    Http//:www.hemlockontherocks.com

    ReplyDelete