Last night WXXI aired the documentary “180 Days” which, as the preview says, “tells an intimate story of Washington Metropolitan High School (DC Met) and its first graduating class.”
The film begins with the administrator rallying the teachers. At the end of the speech, one of the teachers comments, “Only 180 days to go.” Before the students arrive, the staff feels defeated. There are no signs of passion in the teachers that can be used to motivate and inspire the students to become passionate about learning.
The students of this high school are troubled teens with less than reputable backgrounds. These young men and women are introduced to a system of education that is likened more to a correctional facility than an institution of learning.
The adults speak to the students as though they are criminals. No respect is given to the fact that they have returned to a system that offers them little more than they have already been given.
We hear testimony from these young adults that is filled with doubt and despair. There is no passion in their voice when they speak about their future.
Rochester City School District Superintendent Vargas unveiled his 2013-14 budget proposal last night as well. More time in the classroom for students, pre-k, and reduced class size. None of the proposed plans include moving toward a child centered education that concentrates on the educational success of the child as the primary function of the district.
There are no plans to teach respect of self and others. There are no plans to discover, develop, and direct the gifts and talents of all of our students. There are no plans to teach the child instead of teaching to the test.
Teachers and students will still be evaluated by arbitrary measures that inhibit true learning. As Commissioner Powell pointed out, “He’s (Vargas) being very pragmatic in going after the political landscape and grants (money) that the governor wants to dole out.”
Our children will not be educated successfully until we successfully direct the focus of education on our children.
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