"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"...no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinion in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish enlarge, or affect their civil capacities." – Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Newbery Medal Committee

The John Newbery Medal is an award given by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), of the American Library Association (ALA). The first award was given in 1922 and has honored books such as, Sounder, From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, and Johnny Tremain. The books are chosen by a committee...and selection to the committee is a real honor.

On this year's committee is a former teacher and current children's librarian in Cincinnati...Sam Bloom...who also happens to be my son. A local newspaper in the Cincinnati area has a good article about him and the Newbery award.

Two things occurred to me as I was reading the article about him. First, reading aloud to your children and students is the most effective way to instill a love of reading. It shows them that you value reading, that you love reading, and gives them an understanding of how stories work.

Second, and this is not something that you will read in the article, good young teachers are leaving the classroom because of the overemphasis on testing - among other things. No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top have turned American classrooms into test prep factories and the frustrations of that, coupled with the growing list of restrictions dumped on classroom teachers, leads to a rate of teacher turnover higher than other professions.

If we give the supporters of the current "reforms" in education the benefit of the doubt, their attempts to increase the number of good teachers in our schools is having the opposite effect. The so-called "reforms" of NCLB and RttT are driving good teachers out of the classroom.

There are some who believe that NCLB and RttT and other so-called "reforms: are actually attempts to make the public schools in the US fail. The goal set by NCLB of having 100% of all students reading at "grade-level" by 2014 is, by definition, impossible. The true goal is to force public education into failure in order to make way for privatization.

Making teachers' lives miserable is just one step in the process of destroying America's public schools.

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