I spent yesterday in sixth-grade classrooms. It was “Parent Day” at my son’s school.
Here are a few observations coming out of that experience:
1. Other than my son, there are only five Caucasians in his class of 24 students. The number of Hispanic and African American students far outnumbered Caucasian students and there were several Asian students, also. I see this ethnic and racial diversity as a positive for my son. However, I was surprised that there were not more white students in his class (and from what I observed in his entire school). Where were they? We live in an upper-middle class suburb and I would have expected more Caucasian students.
2. I now know why my son brings home so much homework from school. The teachers spent at least one-third of their time trying to get control of the classroom (and they weren’t very successful). If they were able to use the time effectively that is instead used to try to get students into their seats, to remain quiet, and listen then there would be plenty of time to do the work that my son is required to bring home. Maybe it is time for the school to put the seats back into rows rather than being configured in work groups and send kids that don’t want to learn out of the room.
3. I was thoroughly impressed with the instructional tools that were made available in the classroom — high-tech, high quality. And, I love the design and quality of the books used. If I would have had textbooks like those my son has I would have devoured them. I see this and then I think of the homeschooling moms and dads who can’t afford these gadgets and texts but still manage to equip their children to score far better on standardized tests than the kids coming out of my son’s Intermediate School. Hmmmm. Yet, all year long the school has been advocating for higher taxes to get more money for the school. The argument is that they need better stuff to better educate the kids. Hmmmm. Something’s not right here.
Well, those are just some generic observations. I’m glad the school invited us parents into the classroom yesterday. I hope they do it again.
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