Sunday, March 17, 2013


When I graduated from high school in the 80s, I remember commenting to the local newspaper in an interview that the curriculum was lacking and that I could have learned more.  I greatly appreciate my small town upbringing now, there were many aspects other than the curriculum that were beneficial, but I knew I wasn't prepared for college.  I had a very steep hill to climb.
I struggled throughout college, academically and financially; balancing family time, studies and many hours of work was tough.  My math professors were demanding and husband was my cheerleader... they all saw me through...
I worked as a research assistant for 18 months, when I couldn't find a teaching job, it was a God-send that opened my eyes in so many ways.  I took dictation for a beautifully brilliant female math professor for part of the day.  We corresponded with mathematicians from all over the world.  I imagined how empowering that technology could be in teaching children to realize their individual potential.  We also corresponded with many influential people that were concerned about mathematics education in the U.S.  We often took breaks for tea and discussed the issues at hand that day.  I grew to love tea time... 
In her writing, she coined a phrase that "school mathematics should be a pump, not a filter" this is a concept that has stayed close to my heart for many years.  Students with "latent abilities" in mathematics must be supported in a learning environment that keeps opportunities open to them.
Let's fast forward to the present... Rather than developing and utilizing technology to support individuals in realizing their cognitive potential, we have the Common Core Standards Initiative.  We are expected to passively embrace a centralized initiative that will limit the content taught in schools, undermine individual liberty of students, parents, teachers and administrators, limit the power of our locally elected school boards, and limit choice of educational materials available in the market place because of the huge rush to implement Common Core.  The whole "initiative" is antithetical to true freedom. 
Twenty or so years ago, when I first began teaching, I honestly expected to see the day when technology would break open great opportunities for students and teachers.  I'm not talking about technology for technology's sake, I mean huge strides in cognitive development.  Here are some questions that I had hoped would be answered by now...
Why do students still carry books and notebooks when we claim to spend thousands a year per pupil?
Why are school districts still investing tax dollars in copy machines and paper, teacher time in standing at the copier and grading paper and pencil assessments, rather than designing content specific learning opportunities?
Why don't we use technology to teach students how to create their own individual concept maps in a secure environment?
I have to say...these seem like issues that Bill Gates has the power and resources to address, if he really cared about individuals reaching their fullest potential.  Instead he has invested heavily in creating a system of centralization, uniformity, and a captive market... yes, he's a very smart business man... but is it right?
Please don't respond to this in the comment section...I don't check them often enough...
You can reach me @proudmomom on twitter. 
Thank you,  Lisa

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