Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Truancy; before and after

Truancy interferes with any model for educating children and requiring them to be in a certain place at a certain time doing the same thing everybody else is doing.

In public schools; schools where standardizing learning is the priority; students must be seated in one of thirty desks in five rows of six; cemetery seating.  There to be educated in unison with twenty nine other kids of approximately the same age and nothing much else in common.  There is no change in sight.

We can address truancy before it happens or after.
The one so much preferable to the other.

Truants are truant in general, for one of two reasons;

  1. reasons beyond their control, and
  2. because school sucks.
For too many students, school is hard and not much fun.
Except for opportunity to goof around with friends, largely
without regard for the learning of other students,
they see nothing for them at school.

To some extent, there is little to be done about that;
sometimes life is neither fun nor interesting and immature souls will rebel.  They will not work hard; they will not even attend; no matter what you do after they are truant.

On the other hand, we could agree that as long as reasonable standards are met, public school education should be as fun and interesting and individualized as it can be made.

Why not?

Primarily because standardization of individual educational performance is the top priority and more important than creating independent lifelong learners at the earliest opportunity.

The most disturbing aspect of truancy in the APS is that "they" are going to talk about every possible solution except abandoning cemetery seating, standardized tests and standardized testing; likely the single best solution they could ever consider.

There is a necessary and perhaps inevitable choice to be made between individualization and standardization in public school education.

Consequently there is a need for open and honest discussion about the mission of the APS.  Should we continue to focus our energy and resources on the effort to standardize learning, or can we consider instead, individualizing learning; creating independent lifelong learners at the earliest opportunity?

The switch from standardization to individualization of necessity entails delegating power and resources.  School Boards and superintendents and assistant superintendents will not surrender willingly, the power they hold.  It's not the way they roll; it isn't in human nature.

They will resist however and wherever they can.

Primarily by stonewalling; pretending they don't know that there's a question before them.

Expect considerable foot dragging as well, from the people who sell standardized tests and standardized testing services worth millions and millions of dollars every year.

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