Can we do better?

I believe that we can always do better but for some reason this 2nd grade teacher, who professes to teach “minority and high-poverty” students believes that it is best to ignore the basics for these students. (Washington Post Commentary: Classroom Caste System)

Mr. Keyes is obviously an opponent of NCLB since he believes that it has created a “caste-like system in which students’ future prospects are likely to be similar to those of their parents” his reasoning seems simple: “Students in largely wealthy and white schools are learning to ask larger questions; students in poor and minority schools are only being taught to answer smaller ones.”

But Mr. Keyes’s argument is flawed. The reasoning that the schools differ is related to the “small questions” and who has the ability to answer them. The administration and the teachers in his school have failed the students that have been placed in their care by not teaching them the fundamentals. There is an old saying that we must learn to walk before we can run and Mr. Keyes would like his students to run marathons before they have learned to crawl.

If the administration is pushing the test-prep books and the students are still failing then it is time to stop teaching to the test but to teach to the students. Now this can’t be a new concept to these people, after all they did get their teaching certificates didn’t they?

NCLB is not perfect but it is not creating a gap…it is exposing the hidden secret that many teachers and administrators have wholly ignored until now. With the secret out in the light of day teachers will have to go back to teaching the basics to ALL students. They will have to hold their ground and hold back students that do not succeed. We should expect that our children can read and do math at a basic level, after all that is why we are sending them to school.


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