Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! Many teachers are being bombarded by gifts and thank you notes as they are appreciated for what they do.
In Grand Rapids, the YMCA, the science museum, universities, and the local school district, with millions of dollars of funding by “XQ: The Super School,” are conspiring to replace teachers and their schools. XQ is a project by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs.
During this time set aside to honor teachers, USA Today is reporting “Going to school in a museum: Does learning have to happen in a school?” In their opinion, it apparently doesn’t. And it’s only fitting, too, that they take us to Grand Rapids, where Betsy DeVos likes to hang out.
These schools are promoted as the schools of the future. Learn anyplace, anytime, and by anyone. Mostly they are about personalized learning or learning on the computer.
Because students need breaks from sitting all day on digital devices, the Young Men’s Christian Association will do P.E., and science museums are offering to replace that old dilapidated school building no school district had the funds to fix. Anybody with a skill in anything can now be a teacher! Know how to fix a bike or cook a stew…sign on!
Teachers with Masters in Education degrees, you’re not a part of this mix, unless you’re carefully vetted by Powell’s super school folks. You must do as they tell you. And I am also sorry, that the universities who helped prepare you for real credentials, might now be a part of saying you aren’t necessary!
Parents and students no longer have to say thank you to teachers. Instead, they can just write a check to XQ.
We’ve all been to museums on field trips—trying to instruct our classes or children about the latest exhibits. However, I am not sure how excited teens will get about these places. Looking at artifacts and ancient maps and such can only hold your attention so long.
XQ knows how to smoothly dis public schools and teachers in their video, so pleasantly you can be conned. See how they do it here in “Why Must We Rethink High School?” Scroll down to watch.
They talk about how students are B.S. detectors when teachers tell them they want to help them become something special. In their eyes, I guess, we teachers are disingenuous jerks.
Worse, is the way they twist free public education as “a place of radical innovation, free and accessible schooling” seen “as a vital part of democracy that would guarantee equal opportunity for all.” For a minute you can be confused, until you realize they’re speaking of this in the past tense—like it no longer matters. I would also question their use of the word “public” school.
I especially recoiled at the quick picture (don’t blink) of the multiple choice test answer sheet that they are criticizing. These same business icons who stuck public schools with high-stakes testing, and many other reforms that damaged schools in the name of accountability, now promote embedded ongoing digital testing. They are damning their own past reforms!
It’s also deceptive that they speak of public schools as places spawning only factory workers and farmers. Not that those careers are not important, but out of public schools have come doctors, scientists, lawyers, actors, and those from a wide variety of vocations—teachers too.
Today’s new world, they claim, will focus on the students themselves, not that that is a bad thing, and not that our high schools have not sought in the past to identify what kids like to do.
But I don’t think I am wrong in saying that taking students to marvel at Dr. Skateboard (as shown in this XQ video) who teaches physics through heelflips doesn’t make a student ready to face the future. It is an aside—a little something extra—not a curriculum. I wouldn’t plan on my kid getting into the top Ivy with that kind of instruction.
These new education entrepreneurs like to talk about presenting the whole, like the specific steps are useless. Perhaps that is because there are few rules, and instruction is flung about according to the latest whim.
It is odd. Aren’t specific steps necessary to lead students to the whole? It doesn’t seem like you can have one without the other. And do students not thrive when teachers present them with new information?
So during this time to reflect on the importance of teachers, think of the prospect of your student sitting online 24/7 whether it’s in a museum or at the Y. Ask how much of your tax dollars are going to this new untested venture. Does anyone bother to ask you for your opinion?
Many students, 90% in fact, attend public schools today. Quite a few will go on to get college degrees in what interests them. Will that happen with this new futuristic plan to hand education over to museums, the YMCA, digital devices and anyone with a skill? Should we allow our students to become Guinea pigs?
If you have the time, maybe make your child’s teacher a pie. I think they’d like that. Better yet, a simple thank you will suffice.
Here is a positive video by Kentucky principal Gerry Brooks in honor of teachers. Enjoy! Many of us still love teachers and public schools!