December 2, 2013

SAY, THIS SOUNDS SORT OF FAMILIAR: ‘It Feels Like Education Malpractice:’ What one woman learned from 10 years of teaching in a New York City public school.

I went in as an idealist. I’d seen all the movies, seen all the poor kids and heroic teachers. But those movies were fake. They started out with a real story but turned it into a happy ending when there wasn’t one. It was grueling. You had to save these kids, but if one was running around the room or dancing on the tables or beating another kid up, you had to deal with it yourself. They’re unhappy kids and they’re going to look for fights to express their frustration. . . .

I saw that no matter what I wanted for the kids, it wasn’t going to happen. The system purported to be supporting students just wasn’t there. They need remediation, tiny class sizes, one-on-one attention—they need parenting, basically. Their parents are affected by the same Toxic Stress that they are, and it repeats itself in a cycle from parent to child. In America, the wealthiest school is going to get ten times more funding than the lowest one. For every dollar my school was getting, one in the suburbs was getting ten dollars. That’s huge. The kids come in disadvantaged, and they’re subjected to this disadvantaged school. My school was completely third-world.

Reading the whole thing, though, I don’t think she learned as much as she should have. Maybe she’ll read my new book when it comes out next month. . . .