Skip to comments.Why We Need “A Bill of Rights for Students 2012”
Posted on 01/27/2012 1:06:28 PM PST by BruceDeitrickPrice
There are already many Bills of Rights for Students. Most emphasize how schools or teachers should treat students. Typically, that would be gently. Heaven forbid we should place any burden on these delicate minds. Here is the problem from an educational point of view. At the end of the day, if all these rights are accommodated, the children could still end up as ignorant as they were a year earlier.
A Bill of Rights for Students 2012 emphasizes skills and knowledge that the students are ENTITLED to learn, and that schools must teach.
A Bill of Rights for Students 2012 is based on the concluson that all the arguments, the excuses, and the endless murky debates we hear in the press are beside the point. Not one explains the actual problem with the public schools. Which is simply stated: they have stopped doing their essential work, i.e., teaching stuff. (They seem to feel that their mission is babysitting, busy work, and political correctness.)
A Bill of Rights for Students 2012 suggests that the Education Establishment has descended a long way from what it should be doing. Students are left in a soft vacuum. You see them on Jaywalking, not knowing the simplest things. You look at the NAEP literacy scores and realize the two-thirds of young Americans are less than proficient in reading. You look at surveys of basic knowledge (Where is Alaska?), and you realize a huge percent of the population doesnt know much. How are we to sustain a democracy when the people are kept wrapped in ignorance?
So what radical advice does A Bill of Rights for Students 2012 propose? Merely the obvious. Children have a right to learn basic math. They have a right to learn to write, in both senses. They have a right to know history, geography, science, and real critical thinking. They have a right to acquire facts and knowledge.
The first and most important right is THE RIGHT TO LEARN TO READ. Illiteracy, rampant throughout our culture, is a threat to the nation. (Furthermore, I now think its fair to say that leaving children illiterate is to deprive them of a basic civil right. Why isnt the DOJ suing major public school systems, as a way of harassing all the others into doing a better job?)
A Bill of Rights for Students 2012 can be a tool for parents in their dealings with a local school system. Simply send a copy of A Bill of Rights for Students 2012 to the local school, with a personal note.
A Bill of Rights for Students 2012 can also be a tool in local community politics. Imagine that, in each town in America, the Mayor or another VIP holds a press conference and says, Here is our roadmap, our blueprint. Ill be spending the next few weeks chatting with administrators and students, to find out if this level of educational activity is taking place. If not, why not?
A Bill of Rights for Students 2012 can be found in printable form at this link: http://www.improve-education.org/id90.html
The whole piece is only 900 words. Here are the ten rights:
1) THE RIGHT TO LEARN TO READ.
2) THE RIGHT TO MASTER BASIC ARITHMETIC.
3) THE RIGHT TO WRITE, IN BOTH SENSES.
4) THE RIGHT TO KNOW CORRECT SPELLING.
5) THE RIGHT TO GEOGRAPHY.
6) THE RIGHT TO LITERATURE.
7) THE RIGHT TO HISTORY.
8) THE RIGHT TO SCIENCE.
9) THE RIGHT TO MEMORIZATION.
10) THE RIGHT TO REAL CRITICAL THINKING.
There is also a condensed 3-minute video version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48Xe8rGvaT0
(Bruce Deitrick Price specializes in analysing the flawed theories and methods that sabotage our schools. Improve-Education.org has articles on Whole Word, Constructivism, Cooperative Learning, Critical Thinking, Learning Styles, Reform Math, the Crusade Against Knowledge, etc.)
AS IT APPEARS ON EDARTICLE.COM
We are losing our actual Bill of Rights as we speak. This problem, which is indeed a problem, pales in comparison.
Arne Duncan will take care of them:
September 23, 2010
“Today, I promise you that under my leadership, the Department of Education will be a committed partner in the national effort to build a more environmentally literate and responsible society,”
Right now, in the second decade of the 21st century, preparing our children to be good environmental citizens is some of the most important work any of us can do. Its work that will serve future generations—and quite literally sustain our world,
“Sustainability Education Summit: Citizenship and Pathways for a Green Economy.”
This weeks sustainability summit represents the first time that the Department is taking a taking a leadership role in the work of educating the next generation of green citizens and preparing them to contribute to the workforce through green jobs, said Duncan. President Obama has made clean, renewable energy a priority because, as he says, its the best way to ‘truly transform our economy, to protect our security, and save our planet.’
Educators have a central role in this. A well educated citizen knows that we must not act in this generation in ways that endanger the next, said Duncan. They teach students about how the climate is changing. They explain the science behind climate change and how we can change our daily practices to help save the planet. They have a role in preparing students for jobs in the green economy.
Actually, things in public education would go a lot better if states would change the language to “the right to an OPPORTUNITY to get an education.” Treating education itself as a right has caused large numbers of disruptive and unruly students to be kept in classrooms keeping teachers from teaching and students from learning.
Lord, Lord, Lord, everyone in education is so good at sophistry. I expected better from GenX.
The point is, we want to put renewed emphasis on what the school must deliver, in the same way that we would say the post office must deliver mail promptly and the military must protect the country. There are services and products that the schools are not delivering, or delivering in an inferior form.
Yes, Bruce I agree with you about sophistry.
OTHO, how about a Bill of Rights for Teachers while we’re at it?
1. Teachers have a right to be heard when they’re held accountable for students’ failures or low test scores.
One thing that grates me about this is that the students are NEVER EVER wrong! It is always always always the fault of the teacher!
The public has NO idea as to what we teachers put up with in classrooms every day —many students who are disinterested and disconnected or are hostile to the educational process.
If I rightly and correctly flunk them, I am blamed by the student and his parents (whom I’ve called repeatedly and sent no less than eight report cards/progress reports home during the course of the year noting their child’s “lack of progress”), the principal (who will ask me what it is I am doing wrong when students fail my class), the school district, the media and the public.
Oh, what I’d like the public to know! I’d like them to know about students who arrive 30 minutes late every day with bags of fast food, students who refuse to stop texting (even though it is a clearly stated school policy that students are NOT to use cell phones during class time), students who enter my classroom every single day without pencil, paper or textbook, students who refuse to do any homework or study for tests, students who are disrespectful toward authority and get their parents to back them up, special ed students reading at a 3rd grade level or with severe behavioral issues who are now mainstreamed into my classroom with regular 9th grade students.
There are many such students. There are also many good students in such classes as well and it is THEY who are losing the most, as they have to sit and suffer with disruptions such as the teacher taking valuable instructional time to deal with behavioral issues or constant interruptions.
Students fail themselves. The majority of teachers I’ve worked with over the past 20+ years are hard working, dedicated and passionate about what they are doing. We didn’t go into this business to fail students but to help them succeed. There is nothing like a light bulb going off over a kid’s head when he “gets” your lesson. We thrive on success.
Are there lemons among us? Certainly. But the vast majority of us are not. We are dedicated to helping children learn.
I provide all of the necessary materials and structure, but the student has to do his part too, doesn’t he?
What if he doesn’t?? How is that my fault and why is that never ever looked at? Why does no one ever look at the kid’s record to see how many days or class periods he ditched? How many days he arrived 30 minutes or more late?
How he scored on chapter tests or whether or not he did the assigned homework?
Why are students or parents never held accountable?
I am ALL for cameras in classrooms. Bring ‘em in! I WANT the public to know what goes on inside American classrooms. I have nothing to hide. I’d like to show these tapes to the parents and the public and let them judge for themselves whether lessons are being delivered or not.
From my point of view it isn’t sophistry, Bruce. I’ve had to sit in on an IEP meeting which had to be held because a drunken student brought a gun to school one morning. It had to be proven that his bringing the gun to school didn’t have anything to do with his learning disability in reading. He couldn’t be expelled until after the meeting had taken place. Logical? Certainly not. In a logical world he would have been expelled by the time the cops put him in the back seat.
I understand and agree with you about reforming education. But I would say wariness in couching the language in the form of rights is called for because it could have some very unintended consequences. If a kid fails my class, then would his right to history be violated because he didn’t pass? At least, that will be his parent’s notion and that of their attorneys, and their sophistry would be backed by the letter of the law.
“There are services and products that the schools are not delivering, or delivering in an inferior form.”
I don’t dispute that. But it isn’t the same as delivering a box. The recipient of the box wants it; an unwilling student does not. This flies in the face of two common assumptions prevalent in education today, which is that all students want to learn, and all students can learn all things. A big step in solving many educational problems would be to admit and accept that neither is true. That is not going to happen, but it needs to. I think that renewed emphasis on what the school must deliver needs to be based on what can actually be delivered, to (ab)use your metaphor. Schools are often called on to do literally everything. If you want that emphasis, cut back on what is attempted until we get to that which is essential.
I appreciate your comments. You should write up your thoughts more formally and put them on edarticle.com and/or FreeRepublic.
There’s a subtle problem I see in your comments and those by Gen X. You don’t want too much blame on the teachers. I agree. You seem to think the choice is between the students and the teachers or maybe the parents. I don’t agree with that. I think 90% of the blame should go to the Education Establishment. They allow for the violence, the chaos, the bad methods, the general pervasive inefficiency.
I have a lot of scorn for the top people. If they were sincerely trying to provide a good education, most of the problems would disappear. They would be dealt with in a logical way. But we have elite educators still pushing reform math, whole word, and many other methods that simply don’t work. From there it’s all downhill. (My Bill of Rights was inspired by the hope of reining in these crazy ideologues.)
So when you’re explaining the teacher’s point of view, please help the public understand how the layer of authority above you could do a better job. Which are the programs and methods we need to get rid of?
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