"The free play of art is the result of mastery. " --Ernst Fischer, The Necessity of Art

"Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them." --Ladybird Johnson

"...a well-trained ear, a well-trained intelligence, a well-trained heart, and a well-trained hand...." --Zoltan Kodaly


What is the true goal?

Hey J,

I heard a snippet of news on the radio this morning.  Apparently, our state government is seriously considering correlating teacher salaries with student test scores.

If  national test scores alone, out of context, are the sole determinant factor in salary assignment, it could quickly affect who would teach in schools where students are already struggling with impediments to learning.

 Aside from any personal economic realities on the part of educators,  most classrooms have a stock of  high quality materials that have been paid for by the teachers themselves (and not reimbursed: I know, personally, at least 3 teachers who spend around $1500 annually, on classroom supplies).  Not as easy to do, if the base salary is reduced at the onset.

I find it difficult to believe that such an obviously punitive action could have arisen from anything other than a sense of desperation.   There are so many factors which influence how students learn-- nutrition, sleep patterns, prenatal development, home environments and nurturing, teachers and school social climates, TV, social media--the list seems endless.

 Small wonder that we are all grappling with the enormity of how to truly help children to learn and to succeed.

Well, J, for what it's worth: I've been teaching for more than twenty years.  Seems to me that small class sizes and active, experience-based learning is where it's at.

And, by the way, as you know--- test scores do not reflect anyone's true learning---or the work that's been put into teaching.

Want to have a clearer view of that, J?  Look through a portfolio of student work.

  Or look at our portfolios--as educators, our portfolios are walking around us and talking with us, each day.

 We're working in their lives--for the whole child, not just for their test scores.  Working to help safeguard their  sense of wonder about life, their courage and their curiosity. Working to strengthen both  their skills and their joy in learning .  Working--in the words of Zoltan Kodaly--to 'instill a thirst ... which will last a lifetime": a lifetime of learning.

I'm thinking that's newsworthy.

More, later.

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