In January, this post  came across my radar. The Evaluation  (this is a PDF, but it is also available in other formats) hit all of my sweet-spots: education reform, dystopic, and free. I finally had a chance to read it, and I have to say that this is an absolutely chilling not-so-futuristic view of our schools and school system, particularly in terms of how it treats educators and students (or, you know, the most important parts of the whole enterprise).
David Cruz is an “educator” trying to make his way in this brave new world of schools. Teachers are forced to stay “on-script” while students are piled into technology-enabled classrooms, forbidden for interacting with each other, doing drills on their machines. Any deviation from the script or day’s plan results in a decrease in pay. Teachers must re-apply for their positions at the beginning of every day, interchangeable parts, no more than a set of qualifications, bought at a price. Big Brother is always watching, too.
How the classrooms were run certainly seemed chillingly accurate, but how they treated the teachers reminded me more about how adjuncts are treated; although we don’t have to re-apply every day, we have to re-apply every semester, as often as every 10 weeks. We are interchangeable 18 graduate credit hours, a cheap, warm body to get as many students out as possible. Our work is increasingly automated and heavily scripted.
Pick up the book. It’s short. It’s free. And I think it’s a really important read.
Sometimes I write things that I am particularly proud of. This piece that dissects the idea of play, games, and gamification and pedagogy  is one of them. Please head over and give it a read.
No sooner did I write a post about the scourge of candy  in my kids’ schools than I get letters home requesting candy-filled Easter eggs for the annual Easter egg hunts.
I’ve turned into that person who gives our pencils at Halloween, haven’t I? I am desperately hoping I can find eggs that are filled with temporary tattoos (which, admittedly, most kids love almost as much as candy).
But what are we teaching our kids about healthy eating habits, as well as what they should expect from their schools. I have no problem with the kids celebrating holidays (especially in kindergarten and preschool) but when there are bi-weekly celebrations…
I also forgot to mention that my daughter is now stressed out about the next round of standardized tests, lest she doesn’t perform well enough and costs her whole class a pizza-and-sundae party.
My peer-driven learning classes’ presentations have started. I’m “live tweeting” the stuff, so if you’d like to see the great work they’re doing, follow #peerdriven . I want to share more publicly the work they’ve done and what they’ve come up with. Come along for the ride on Mondays, Wednesdays, and every other Fridays for the next month or so. You won’t regret it!
Might even make you feel a little hopeful about the future of education and the next generation. I know it always does for me.