Teaching in LAUSD: All The Fun Is Gone

Think of your fondest memories from elementary school.  

Was it making a 3 dimensional map with mountains, or a school Olympics, or putting on a play, or sewing a frontier outfit, or classroom discussions, or many other things? Maybe it was May Day dances or working with tools.

They are gone. There are no replacements. 

All academics all the time or very close to it.

There are standards for every subject and every skill. At some schools the standard number and name for the lesson being taught must be on the board during the lesson. The standard must accompany the student’s work on the bulletin board.

On elementary school report cards there are rubrics, numbers from 1 to 4. The rubrics are also placed on children’s work and on their presentations. Letter grades are a thing of the past until secondary school. 

Did you do well in elementary school? Did you have fun and learn too? That is the way it should be. On the first day of school I would tell my new class that they would have more fun than they ever had in school, and that they would work harder than they ever had before.

Then came Open Court, Math pacing plans, and an extreme overemphasis on testing. Bye, bye fun. Hello test scores.

Did you know that they give tests in Kindergarten? Yes, in Kindergarten! They might as well begin testing when they come out of the womb.

Kindergarten was about shapes, and colors, and socialization, and finger painting, and snacks, and reading readiness. Those who were not ready to read were not forced to, and they tended to start a little later and to catch up.

Think about your favorite and most remembered elementary school teachers. If you can, remember your Kindergarten teacher. Would they have been happy today? Would they have been able to teach under these test oriented circumstances?