Can We Please Stop Pretending …?

pretendingAbout two years ago, fellow blogger Scott McLeod posted a list of five things we have to stop pretending when it comes to education. He also encouraged others to add our ideas and suggestions. As of today, he has documented 127 responses from other bloggers and educators on his website, including my own.

For no other reason than I’ve grown weary of thinking and writing about the Oklahoma budget crisis, I decided to dust off my original list and add about 65 more items that literally poured forth from my brain. Sorry, but I get a little snarky towards the end.

I’d love to read your ideas as well. Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments.

We need to stop pretending:

  1. That all 5-year-olds arrive at the schoolhouse ready to learn.
  2. That policy-makers who have never taught or earned an education degree know more than the practitioners who work with kids every day.
  3. That charter schools that accept the same students as public schools achieve better results.
  4. That class size doesn’t matter.
  5. That higher academic standards will automatically result in more kids being college and career ready.
  6. That reading magazine articles or online content is the same as reading a book.
  7. That all students need to take Algebra II to be successful in life.
  8. That any one test score can tell us how smart a child is.
  9. That students value their core classes more than their electives.
  10. That all teachers do a good job.
  11. That learning and knowing are the same thing.
  12. That a traditional classroom is the best place for teaching and learning.
  13. That a student with special needs being served with a modified curriculum all year should be able to magically pass a test on grade level in April.
  14. That an A-F school report card gives us meaningful information about the overall climate and quality of a school.
  15. That students should be grouped by chronological age.
  16. That students are still paying attention after 10 or 15 minutes of a lecture.
  17. That children learn from people they don’t like.
  18. That ALL students don’t need recess.
  19. That you can measure the value of a teacher by how well their students do on standardized tests.
  20. That children will continue to read books if the adults around them do not.
  21. That there is a “best practice” for ANYTHING. Context always matters!
  22. That school, for the most part, isn’t incredibly boring.
  23. That every student should go to college.
  24. That most high school classrooms are vastly different than they were thirty years ago.
  25. That we treat academic or artistic achievement equal to athletic achievement.
  26. That school mission statements are worth much more than the paper they’re written on.
  27. That most school administrators are well-qualified to evaluate teaching effectiveness.
  28. That grades are an accurate reflection of what a student has learned and is able to do in a class.
  29. That a curriculum developed in the 1890’s is still applicable for children born in the year 2000.
  30. That it is impossible to get rid of a mediocre teacher.
  31. That the best schools have the best test scores.
  32. That the best way to structure the school day is with 50 minutes subjects taught separately from each other.
  33. That many rich white people who promote vouchers do so because they care about poor minority children.
  34. That short-term memorization equals long-term learning.
  35. That all students know how to use technology.
  36. That most parents care less about their children’s grades than if they are learning anything of long-term value.
  37. That young children inherently know how to behave themselves in school.
  38. That retaining children because they cannot pass a reading test benefits the child.
  39. That kids who are tired, hungry, scared, traumatized, or abused give a damn about learning much of anything.
  40. That every child has someone at home to help them with their homework.
  41. That international test scores and comparisons to other countries tell us much about the quality of the American education system.
  42. That teachers only work seven hour day, 180 days a year.
  43. That most of the knowledge we teach kids cannot be easily accessed in less than 30 seconds on a device.
  44. That most superintendents don’t earn their money they are paid.
  45. That schools can be run like a business and students can be handled like products.
  46. That social media is not a HUGE part of most young people’s lives.
  47. That test-based accountability has improved the quality of teaching and learning in schools.
  48. That music and arts are not as important and core subjects.
  49. That all kids are motivated by the same things.
  50. That one-shot professional learning for teachers actually makes a difference.
  51. That we can continue to teach kids today the way we were taught yesterday.
  52. That poverty doesn’t matter.
  53. That all children come from loving and supportive families.
  54. That most anti-bullying campaigns do much to actually reduce bullying in schools.
  55. That cursive is more important to teach young children than coding.
  56. That only two years learning a world language other than English has much value to 99% of students.
  57. That practices that work well in Finland would work equally well in an urban US school district.
  58. That most citizens care very much about the quality of the schools outside of their neighborhood.
  59. That anything much is going to improve some people’s negative perceptions of public schools.
  60. That teaching is not the most important profession in the world.
  61. That teaching is easy and almost anyone can do it.
  62. That money doesn’t matter because teachers are intrinsically motivated by a sense of purpose and love for kids.
  63. That teachers don’t have any other options for careers.
  64. That Oklahoma will ever move out of the bottom in the nation in terms of teacher pay and funding for common education.
  65. That having over 1,000 emergency certified teachers in Oklahoma this year is okay.
  66. That teacher morale in Oklahoma isn’t at an all-time low.
  67. That the Oklahoma legislature will actually pass a meaningful teacher pay raise this year.
  68. That most of our teachers will suck it up and keep teaching anyway.
  69. That young teaching prospects from Oklahoma will stay home rather than earn $20K more in a neighboring state.
  70. That the vast majority of our legislators won’t be reelected anyway.

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4 thoughts on “Can We Please Stop Pretending …?

  1. I would suggest you rework your list. I am assuming that some of the points are trying to make points in the negative sense, but if read from with the beginning of a sentence with “Can we stop pretending,” is confirming the point. “That policy-makers who have never taught or earned an education degree know more than the practitioners who work with kids every day. That it is impossible to get rid of a mediocre teacher. That school, for the most part, isn’t incredibly boring.”

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