check this out (rob just sent it to me)...the title is "Playing tag now a no-no at some US schools." Do you know why? because the schools are afraid that parents will sue! how insane is that? why are we such a sue happy country? i do know that kids can get hurt playing tag. but, c'mon, kids can break a bone or bonk their head from just walking.
at van gorder elementary (where irene went last year), they don't have swings. why? b/c they are DANGEROUS (cue ominous music). the thing that first caught irene's attention and made her love her new school (which is older than van gorder)? SWINGS. the school has 3 areas with swings - one for each playground area.
when i was in elementary school, we had 3 recesses. the first and last were 15 minutes. the lunchtime recess was 45 minutes (and that included eating lunch). now, irene has 2 recesses - one 15 minute one and lunch recess which, i think, is 20 minutes or so. no child left behind has just totally screwed so many things. many teachers are teaching only to the testing and many "specials" are being cut b/c the kids need to be having more more more academics. was my schooling so awful? did i end up stupid b/c i had extra recesses? because teachers didn't teach just to the test? no. no child left behind has also made it so that even if a school is doing well, if it doesn't continue to get better and better test scores, it goes on The Watch List. spanish springs is one of those schools on the watch list. we got sent a letter from the school district showing where SS is as compared w/other schools in the district. they were at or above all of the other schools in every area. and yet, they are on the watch list.
i truly appreciated irene's teacher last year - mrs romaggi had the kids doing art almost EVERY SINGLE DAY. and the art was always related to language arts or math. do you see what she did?? she ... COMBINED art WITH learning. what's that??? they were LEARNING THROUGH PLAY? what a CONCEPT! how DEVELOPMENTALLY APPROPRIATE! geez. stuff that teachers already know.
this year, irene has a teacher who pushes them to be their best, but not in a scary bad way. miss graham is wonderful and irene comes home from school just beaming and goes to school telling me how much she loves it. she's doing well in math, fantastic in reading and spelling, and she's a good friend as well. she has swings and some bars to play on which makes her happy. she gets to run and have fun. and they do some coloring most every day. it doesn't feel, to me, like miss graham is teaching to the tests. this could have to do with the fact that she's been teaching for 20 years (which is amazing to me, b/c she looks younger than me!) and knows what really works for getting kids to learn.
it's really not an easy thing to be a new teacher these days. you aren't tenured, you're not getting paid much, mr. bush's no child left behind has made all sorts of things more difficult for them as well.
things need to change.
we need to stop sueing everyone and everything at the drop of a hat. we need to get rid of no child left behind, b/c it seems to leave many children behind. we need to LET TEACHERS TEACH! and we need to PAY teachers! i can tell you that as a sub, i make a whopping 10.50/hour. yeehaw. i don't think that new teachers make too much more than that.