When learning is truly meaningful to students they do not resist, complain of boredom, or count the minutes until they can leave. Students will stay past the end of the school day, students will beg for more time, and they will be proud of their accomplishments. As an educator I have experienced both sides of the equation. In positions that I have truly been able to support student learning I have left work on cloud nine. In positions in which I was under pressure to “cover” the material and prepare for tests, I have left work ground down and exhausted.
If students are to truly achieve their potential, their individual interests must be supported in the classroom, because that is what motivates them to become lifelong learners, innovators, entrepreneurs, and successful, happy people!
The bottom line is that more teachers, mentors, and caring adults are needed in children’s lives to help them achieve their potentials. Our current system of education is like most businesses. Everyone is expected to do more with less. American workers in the past few years have been touted as being even more productive than ever recorded previously. At the same time most workers are making far less proportionally when you compare the cost of living than Americans did 50 years ago.
It would be expensive to hire more teachers and assistants, but not only are our nation’s children the most important investment for the future we can make, but I feel assured the results would surpass our highest expectations.
In my humble opinion, children should be supported in learning through play not just in preschool, but all through elementary school. In middle school and high school they should have opportunities to work on special projects they are truly interested in where they can problem solve and use skills like reading and writing and quantitative analysis to effectively communicate their learning to their peers.
The factory system of education where we churn large groups of children through the schools, and force them to sit doing meaningless paper tasks for hours on end, give them a pitiful amount of outdoor recreation time, and for the most part extremely abominable school lunches is criminal in a nation which is one of the wealthiest in the world.
I was uneasy with the name , but I got over it.
The reality is that the Badass Association of Teachers fills a need. Teachers have been beaten up in the media, and have seen state after state strip away their academic freedom, their rights, their status in the community.
I was invited to join and to write an address to the BAT. This is it.
And here it is in full (by the way, I am uncomfortable with the name lie many others, but our struggle requires militants and BAT is the point of the spear):
Message of Support from Diane Ravitch to the Badass Teachers Association
Dear Members of the Badass Teachers Association,
I am honored to join your group.
The best hope for the future of our society, of public education, and of the education profession is that people stand up and resist.
Say “no.” Say…
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