Friday, August 23, 2013

Crazy- In a Hurry

Week one is in the books!  It is true it wasn't really a full week and there aren't actually any books.  But that shouldn't detract from the joy of having all the students back in our building after dreary week and half of meeting.   The first few days went smoothly which is not always the case.  If you teach I hope the same was true for you.  Working with almost 1800 young people running around, you get used to crazy.  But this year started before they arrived. 

As an experienced teacher I am never surprised at the speed at which the world around me can go completely haywire.  Rarely am I surprised or even forced to pause to absorb the chaos.  It's just too common.  Crazy is the normal.  It's what we do.  That said I can't help but take in with bewilderment the week that was in local education circles.

Let's start at a nearby High School.  Fresh from his June appointment the new principal released a statement announcing his resignation.  What?  While he cited personal matters as the cause I could only imagine what might really bring this about.  It is odd to say the least.

The NCLB Monument.  They built a monument to that crap?
Just down the road in another nearby district a new assistant principal is under fire.  Locals are calling for her ouster after what they term "bullying' of their students.    
All this as the state releases data on how district students have performed on statewide SOL tests.   Nevermind the impact of No Child Left Behind is still being debated.  Along the same lines the Norfolk school board and the Virginia School Board Association decided to sue the state to block Governor Bob McDonald's school takeover legislation. 

Then there's an announcement that Pearson(our nemesis) had mis-scored tests for more that 4,000 students.  The same Pearson that has a more than $100 million contract with our state.  And this isn't first time.  As if we needed another reason to despise for profit education.  Sadder still is the fact that no one seems to bat an eye.  Let's imagine the calls for accountability if this were a teacher who made this mistake. 

Closer to home I found myself conflicted about efforts to redesign learning spaces.   Our media center has been radically transformed.  It is not that the changes are all bad, some are quite good.   But many of the alterations seem to have originated far from actual classrooms and teachers and affect what we do.  As a consequence what was a multi-use facility is now shifting to trends more about appearance that function.  In fairness it is a work in progress.  The Media Center people in the building are great and to some degree, they like us, are along for the ride.  I just wish for one minute the "about the learner movement" would assume that most teachers always try to be about the learners.

Elsewhere our county will hire someone to "rebrand" a local middle school.  To what extend that is necessary or wise I am not certain.  But that term "rebrand"  sounds odd in the same sentence as school.  That word belongs in some sort of business world.  All in the name of "What's Best for Kids"  That might require some rethinking.

Thanks goodness day one of school things returned to "normal". The kids running everywhere meant things were about like they should be.  We'll do our best to keep about the same the rest of the way.

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