School Again

I stepped into a school for the first time since my last teaching gig, in June. It was after school hours....25 or so kids gathered in a lunchroom, doing homework and eating snacks. Fourteen years of working with kids and I'm always amazed at the universality of their character. Within 5 minutes, I had a hug, a question about my giant belly, and 3 requests that I read books. "I don't know who you are," they seem to say, "But come sit by me." 

Torrential downpours with falling temperatures, and a very early sunset made for a gloomy day in Pittsburgh. On my way to the lunchroom, I passed some teachers still working in their classrooms. Hunched over their desks, faces lit up by the glow of laptops, I knew they were looking for the perfect web resource for tomorrow's lesson or trying to clean out their inboxes. I immediately sensed their weariness. Or perhaps just remembered it.

I'm doing some curriculum development for after school programs. Learning time must be maximized. Lessons aligned to standards. Billions of dollars are poured into this problem...why do some places suffer from such abysmal graduation rates? Why do some children have trouble learning to read? Why is there such disparity across our public education system?

And the biggest question...what exactly should kids be learning?

I could write volumes on standards in education, but I already nearly slipped down that rabbit hole, and I need to get back to work. (Note to self: do NOT read comments on articles about education. So many trolls.)

However, I will leave you with this. Google recently joined the conversation on the Common Core Standards in this piece on why they think computer science needs to be included.

When I first read the Common Core it never occurred to me that computer science was missing. And I'm not convinced that high school graduates need to have a high level of understanding of computer technology or programming. After all, most of us use computers for the purpose of communicating...we don't need to know how the operating system works. 

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