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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The White-and-Gold or Is It Blue-and-Black Dress of Ed. "Reform"

In the picture below, your eyes may play tricks upon you.  Take a closer look at the picture.  What do you see?  Don't worry.  Responses have been known to vary greatly!

If you are not among the current class of ed. "reformers," doubtless, the room may look overcrowded to you.  You probably view close to sixty children.  You say to yourself, "too much!"  Your mind's eye reaches past the far left of the picture.  You imagine possibly more children out of the camera's range.  You might notice the students by the window have no desks.  

You may note an apparent lack of diversity.  You wonder if this is a  sign of pernicious segregation.  

You may note that children look at different books and papers.  Only one child appears to look at the camera.  You might wonder why the children do not smile for the camera.  Surely, they must know it is there.  You might wonder if they have been told, instead, to busy themselves because pictures are all about appearances.  You might wonder how much is reality.

You may note there is no teacher in the picture.  This may give you an unsettled feeling.  Is the teacher behind the camera?  Is there only one teacher for sixty students?  You might wonder what happens when the inquiring young minds have questions.  Can one teacher service them all?  Are students discouraged from asking questions?

If you are among the current class of ed. "reformers," doubtless, you may look at the picture and feel a great sense of calm.  You may ask yourself why NYC public-school teachers only have 34 in a room when double that number appears to work exceptionally well.  

You might see that students are at different places in their books.  Some of the books are different.  Some students are engaged in writing.  You might assume they are all being challenged at the appropriate level.  You might appreciate all this diversity.  

You may appreciate as well that the students are too busy to smile for the camera.  They are absorbed in their work.

You might pat yourself on the back that students can learn so well without any teacher present.  You always told yourself this same thing.  This looks like the highest level of Danielson.  The teacher has been so effective, she is no longer necessary.  The children know how to run the class themselves.  You might think sixty children with one good set of questions on the board, or Microsoft-loaded computers at the ready, could replace a living, breathing educator.  

So, which is it?  Who is right?  

You tell me...and it tells me a lot about you!

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