An Open Letter to Education Decision Makers

Dear education decision makers,

Please stop this highly uneducated decision making. Everyone is very concerned with the state of our educational system. The problem is that most of the public look to you to make decisions that will lead their children down the path that is supposedly best for them. No offense, but you are failing these children.

I am all for setting high standards for my students (yes, I am a teacher), but you have to have reasonable expectations at the same time. If you believe that science is real and can actually explain some things to us, then you have to also believe in the studies that have shown that certain cognitive abilities develop at certain times in a child’s life. For example, a child of six years of age cannot understand symbolism. This is an example that I believe everyone can observe and understand. of course, this is not a usual issues. However, there are more and more unreasonable expectations being placed on young children. Being a math teacher, I feel compelled to point out the problem of introducing the topics of fractions, multiplication, and division to first grade students. Again, I’m all for high standards but this is plainly unreasonable. Multiplication can only fully be understood when addition has been nearly mastered. That usually takes a year or two or more sometimes. Fractions are bit too abstract for that age as well. Sure, you can show half a pizza pie and they may get the idea but again, maybe we should have those young kids mastering whole numbers for the first year or two of school.

I realize many of you can only make decisions based on what advisors may be telling you. Here I would like to make a suggestion on those advisors: let those advisors be seasoned teachers. The only way to effectively understand what the problems are is to be in that situation. Teachers are best suited for this. And no, school administrators are not just as good. Particularly if they’ve been out of the classroom for a number of years. Truthfully, they left it for a reason. You need people that continuously work with children year in and year out. Listen to what they have to say and then make your decision, even if it goes against the suggestions. At least you will have a more complete understanding of where the situation stands.

Also, cool it with the testing a bit. You’ve got school administrators and teachers so scared if these tests that they are not teaching anything but the test content. That wouldn’t be so bad if the content matched up with normal curriculum, but these tests are a mish mosh of who knows how many collaborators all with different ideas. And how many of them are seasoned teachers??

I’m sure you have the best of intentions, but I’ll take good ideas over best intentions any day. I hope we begin to see these ideas soon.

Dan Greco

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