My plan for educational reform

I am a strong proponent of public education, but I’ll be the first to say I don’t like the track we are on. What I see is heavily prescribed learning with little choice for students. We can debate which schools have the better teachers and which schools have the best opportunities. But what we need desperately is for every single school to be place where children flourish.  We don’t need a choice of school. This just opens up a whole different set of problems. We need consistency in all schools.

ALL schools need to offer

  • high quality reading materials
  • time to be curious
  • a variety topics to explore
  • meaningful techniques of expression
  • other learners, teachers, experts outside of their school wall
  • opportunities to fail
  • instruction in how to write personalized action plans
  • to hear viewpoints that are different from their own
  • a community with shared ideas and plans
  • time for thinking and reading and exploring
  • independence and some choice.

We don’t need armed teachers. We need places where students are valued – not artificially valued, but where they develop their own sense of worth through hard work and the ability to to set their own learning agenda. The amazing thing is that most schools already have the mechanism to get this started – the library and librarian. All the things listed above can start in the library and with the librarian. Want to radically change education? Ask your school librarian where to start!

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Nonfiction Shift

The library is far enough along that I can walk away for a couple of weeks. Nonfiction started in an odd place, so I emptied a wall and started shifting.

That empty book case will have to go somewhere else when I get back!

There are 100s of things I still want to do, but for a few days, I’m going to rest, think about conferences and lesson plans, and plan what to do next!

If you’d like to see all the pictures of this summer’s progress in one place, visit my Pinterest Board.

Update to Modesto Librarian

Well, the Modesto school board has voted to end its elementary library program in favor of computer time. (article) I’m wondering if any of the school board members have visited any elementary library classroom to know what really happens in that time period or to find out that the school librarian is perfectly capable of doing the computer work they think the students need.

Modesto California and School Librarians

Moving from Middle School to Elementary School has brought some challenges as I scrambled for Kindergarten appropriate lessons after teaching older students. One of the places I found with really good ideas was the Modesto K-6 library lessons. They (along with some other sites) gave me lots of good ideas.

So, it was with sadness that I read this article from the Modesto Bee describing the school boards intent (if approved) to do away with time in the library in favor of computer instruction. A lot of the time I spend in the library is spent on computers – we find information, analyze it, share it on computers.  I’m an information specialist and I teach them how to be responsible with information. So I’m not quite sure how this is not as relevant to the 21st century as having the students go to computer. Oh and we do also talk about books – still a great source of information.