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

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Harry and the Common Core

A couple of nights ago I was at a small gathering where Harry's mom was responding to comments about how much Harry, now "five and a half" as he is quick to tell you, has shot up in the past few months.

Oh, he's doing great, says Harry's mom, except for a bit of a dexterity problem in his hands.  

And how do we know of this problem?  It has been pointed out by Harry's kindergarten teacher when he does his practice tests by clicking with the mouse pointer.  (Unlike most of Tennessee's schools, Harry's Germantown school already has all the technology in place that will be needed to take all the new tests online).

And since the tests are timed, well, any glitch in Harry's motor skills can bring down his score on the real test later on, which can bring down his teacher's evaluation scores, and you see where this is going.

Harry's mom is learning a great deal, too, during his first year of school.  She has learned already of something called the Common Core that makes it necessary for the kindergarten teachers to eliminate nap time in order to get across all those skills that Harry is doing his best at clicking in to prove he has learned them.  She has learned of the detailed report cards that have noted how Harry does not track the teacher at all times and that he prefers to do things at his own pace.  Areas to work on, the teacher says.

Harry's mom and the other moms are not happy about the loss of nap time and all the practice testing.  The children come home tired and cranky and not up to enjoying play and family time.

Without looking up from his Legos over near the fireplace, Harry says, "I don't like hands, but I like football."

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