I own and have read all the grade levels in the Core Knowledge Series. There is some repetition when you read the entire series but I found it importaI own and have read all the grade levels in the Core Knowledge Series. There is some repetition when you read the entire series but I found it important to read all of these books as the curriculum builds from the ground up. Each grade level assumes exposure to the previous content, refers to it, and often briefly reviews what was introduced at a previous level. I am especially supportive of teaching history as opposed to social studies in the early grades. Though it is important to learn about their communities and families, kindergartners have a natural interest in history and it is good to capitalize on this enthusiasm from a young age. I also thought the music and the visual arts sections were very informative and helpful for both parents and teachers alike....more
I think the topic of education is very important and I wish the editor of this book had done a better job of monitoring the repetition and the tone ofI think the topic of education is very important and I wish the editor of this book had done a better job of monitoring the repetition and the tone of the opinions. The same studies and statistics were repeated by almost all of the contributors. Though valid and well supported, the repetition makes the book end up seeming like a rant. I found Chapter 9, by Canadian Ben Levin, to be the most thought provoking. He pointed out that the U.S. approaches education very differently than high performing countries like Finland, Singapore, and Korea. Levin noted that unlike the US who focuses on charter schools, competition, testing, alternative certification, merit pay, and firing poor teachers, other high performing countries put their energy into helping teachers and principals improve their work, build a feeling of common purpose among all partners, and create a positive environment that focuses on continuous improvement and high morale. Levin says that other countries understand that education is complex and that there is a correlation between low levels of poverty and high levels of academic success. ...more
Ron Paul presents a libertarian view of education, from kindergarten to college. He thinks home-schooling with internet support as well as opening theRon Paul presents a libertarian view of education, from kindergarten to college. He thinks home-schooling with internet support as well as opening the education system to the free market are the solutions. His text is passionate, to the point of "preachy" and very repetitive. Though I agree with his statement that parents lose control of their children's education when the state and federal government fund it, I don't think homeschooling is a viable option for all American parents. Many parents choose to work or must work to support their families and would not be able to stay at home to supervise and direct their children's education. This is especially true for single parent households. Paul thinks the future of education is the internet but I don't believe he sees the complete picture. I too see potential to improve education with technology and I agree that lectures are far from an ideal way to learn but I do think children need teachers to guide their learning and to help make connections, pushing them to the next level and sparking interests in new areas of study. Here are a couple quotes worth thinking about: "There will never be any successful system of reform in any institution that is not accompanied by a change in funding. The means of reform is always a change in the source of funding." (p.60) Who is in charge of education? "He who pays the piper calls the tune" "There is only one way that parents can gain authority over the structure and content of education for their children. They must pay for it. Any attempt to transfer the funding of education to some other institution is by necessity a call for the transfer of some authority over that education to that agency." (p.69) "The day that a school district accepts any federal money, it becomes subject to all the federal regulations, And then, those who pay most of the piper's bills (local taxpayers)call very few of the tunes." (p.70)...more
If you want a comprehensive look at Public Education in America, read this book or anything by Ravitch. She is a wealth of historical knowledge and isIf you want a comprehensive look at Public Education in America, read this book or anything by Ravitch. She is a wealth of historical knowledge and is familiar with all the key concepts and individuals that are impacting education today. Her position is that American schools and American schools are not failures but there are areas that need improvement. She gives strong evidence about the dangers and consequences of high-stakes testing, always concerned about children and the future of democracy. Ravitch believes there is no place in public education for privatization and profits. She believes that poverty needs to be addressed because it impacts students greatly even before the first day of school. Ravitch is critical of Teach for America, charter schools, Federal control of educational policy, and competition in Obama's Race to the Top. I highly recommended this book for all teachers, parents, and taxpayers. ...more
It is not news that people with money have power. What is unthinkable is that one man with a lot of money has been able to change the course of AmericIt is not news that people with money have power. What is unthinkable is that one man with a lot of money has been able to change the course of American education. Gates is a key player in Obama's Race to the Top, a competitive federal grant program that has bullied states and districts to adopt Common Core Standards, implement merit pay, and further increase the high-stakes testing movement that started with No Child Left Behind. In the past ten years, local and state levels are being directed by the Federal Government. Instead of the Federal Government looking out for low-income children and working towards equity, funding is now awarded through a competition. Some students will get zero! Cody questions Gates motivation and methods, recounting five topics of discussion that he had with Gates foundations representatives. Gates may be an impatient optimist, but he his finding out that teachers are going to push back and parents are too. Many parents are opting out of the new round of tests prompted by the adoption of Common Core Standards and Merit Pay data gathering. Who will be the winner? Gates or children and the democratic process for change?
If you don't have access to this book or don't have time to read it now, then be sure to goggle teachersletterstobillgates.com Guaranteed to produce mixed emotions. Should one laugh, cry, or cheer?...more
This book will only be helpful for those who are completely uninformed about educational achievement and the ways the community can support public schThis book will only be helpful for those who are completely uninformed about educational achievement and the ways the community can support public schools. It is very general and includes more personal experience stories than hard data and concrete action plans.
Fulgham taught two years in an inner city 5th grade with Teach for America. Her major was English and she does not have a "teaching degree" although she did have a summer of training with Teach for America before she entered the classroom. I agree with her that the classroom teacher is the most important "inside school" factor in a child's education, but I don't think Fulgham emphasized enough that the number one predictor of student achievement is socioeconomic status. Is this a teaching problem or an economic problem? Christians will make a difference by donating supplies and volunteering, but wouldn't they make a greater impact by working to change school funding formulas? If local government contributions are based on income from property taxes, is it any wonder that schools in poorer neighborhoods have fewer resources?
This rhyming story shows readers what school was like in colonial times. Readers will see a one room school with a stove for heating and an outhouse.This rhyming story shows readers what school was like in colonial times. Readers will see a one room school with a stove for heating and an outhouse. They will learn about the curriculum ( reading, writing, arithmetic, and religion) and will see how children were disciplined and what they played at recess. No doubt readers will have fun comparing and contrasting the educational experiences of yesterday with today's practices....more
In addition to this book, the author writes a blog called The Artful Parent. Though the book includes many recipes and ideas for projects for childrenIn addition to this book, the author writes a blog called The Artful Parent. Though the book includes many recipes and ideas for projects for children ages one through eight, what I like best about this book is that the author encourages parents to take an artful approach to all of life. For example, expand creativity by conducting science experiments. Take a nature walk, examining the veins in leaves or the bark on the trees in order to improve ones powers of observation. When baking, start from scratch and devise your own family recipes based on personal tastes or using seasonal produce. Finally, nurture the imagination through creative play like having a teddy bear picnic or tea party.
The author reminds other parents: "You can invite art into your home with your actions, your words, your attitude, and the activities you offer. You can do it by having space to do art, making art materials available, and introducing new concepts and activities. You can do it slowly over time or start an overnight art revolution. No matter how you introduce art to your family's life the advantages are PROFOUND."...more