August 2012 • Volume 16 • Number 1 • Page 48
Amusing, interesting, and provocative comments from the field of middle level education
"In his book Drive, author Daniel Pink writes: 'If at age fourteen or forty-three, we're passive and inert, that's not because that's our nature. It's because something flipped our default setting.' When students are passive and inert, we ought to determine what did the flipping."
— Education Consultant Lee Jenkins. "Reversing the Downslide of Student Enthusiasm," School Administrator, May 2012.
"In a sense, literacy is knowledge and culture's progenitor, and unless we teach children to use literacy to challenge subject matter, we risk teaching them useless strategies. They can identify words, but they lack the knowledge base needed to understand and integrate the complex subject matter that will enable them to function in a postindustrial economy."
— Anthony Palumbo, "Unlocking Literacy for Intellectual Growth," Education Week, May 23, 2012.
"Students learn best when they have the most enthusiastic, engaged teachers possible. I firmly believe that teachers must be held accountable for their students' success, from helping them meet personal or school-wide learning goals to achieving on district and state level assessments. Our students are our future, so we, their teachers, must do our best to inspire them and guide them to greatness."
— 2012 National Teacher of the Year Rebecca Mieliwocki, a teacher of Luther Burbank Middle School, California. "Teacher of the Year to Beleaguered Educators: Stand Tall," The Washington Post, April 23, 2012.
"If you compare it to race, if you said to your 1st grade classrooms, 'Good morning, whites and Latinos; let's have the Latinos get your pencils,' what would happen is you would go to federal prison. Labeling children routinely by race in your classroom is a violation of federal law, but, of course, you can do this routinely with gender."
— Rebecca S. Bigler of the University of Texas at Austin, talking about the unintended consequences of social labeling according to gender. "Scholars Say Pupils Gain Social Skills in Coed Classrooms," Education Week, May 9, 2012."
"Thank you for what you have chosen to do with your lives. Thank you for not becoming bankers."
—Katie Haycock, president of The Education Trust, delivered at the commencement ceremony of Lesley University's Graduate School of Education, May 19, 2012.
"Sadly, in many public-school classrooms today, learning happens along a peremptory curve with the teacher firmly in charge. There is little room for discussions, diversions, or debates. The teacher's authority and opinions rule…. For [a] student to become original, the teacher must quietly exit the room after the pot of ideas has been well-stirred. The teacher's relevancy becomes peripheral when knowledge and truth take center stage."
— Ramnath Subramanian, retired public school teacher. "Give Students the Chance to Think for Themselves," The El Paso Times, May 31, 2012.
"There are many terrific charter schools, and many inferior ones. Education officials give great lip-service to eliminating bad schools, but so far, the system doesn't get rid of them so much as offer new alternatives that might not be any better.
— Karin Klein. "Romney vs. Obama: Getting Schooled on Education," The Los Angeles Times, May 29, 2012.
"What I often hear when I suggest that school buses, recess, the lunch room and other places where bullying occurs should have monitors is that there is no money in the budget for such monitoring. REALLY? There is enough money, though, for other activities that do not lead to severe depression, school absence, doctor visits, and possible suicide? What about recruiting volunteers to be bus monitors and to make sure our kids are safe as they travel through their school day? Community members volunteer for all kinds of things.
This sort of volunteering activity is less important than say— the bake sale?"
— Author Barbara Greenburg. "Middle School, Bully, and What We Should Do Now," The Huffington Post, April 25, 2012.
Copyright © 2012 Assocation for Middle Level Education