"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

What Should Second Graders Learn? Academics or IB's Solutions to Poverty?

From a PYP Exhibition

The following curriculum concern was posted on a Facebook page for other readers/bloggers to post to their email, Facebook or blog sites:

I send congrats to my 2nd graders' class for winning the competition of learning all the 10 Spanish states- It saddens me they are not singing about the United States- they are still counting fingers and toes to do simple math- yet they have lots of time to spend memorizing Spanish states-this is for the Spanish class- I will also lose two hours of my life to hear the various topics of the PYP Exhibition on Wednesday- I looked at my daughters script for her Poverty topic- Basically it was helping a poor family by giving them a bag of supplies and sending an organization to help them-(they don't tell the kids who has to pay for that bag of supplies)-I told her this was basically putting a bandaid on the problem and training this family how to break the cycle- work- finish school- It will make for an interesting evening if all the other projects have the same theme as hers-

                 Primary Years Programme Curriculum framework

The exhibition

Students aged 10 to 12 who are in their final year of the programme are expected to carry out an extended, collaborative inquiry project, know as the exhibition, under the guidance of their teachers.

The exhibition represents a significant event in the life of both the school and student, synthesizing the essential elements of the programme and sharing them with the whole school community. It is an opportunity for students to exhibit the attributes of the student profile that have been developing throughout their engagement with the programme. It is a culminating experience marking the transition from the PYP to the Middle Years Programme (MYP).

Schools are given considerable flexibility in their choice of the real-life issues or problems to be explored and investigated in the exhibition.

Do real-life issues make kids STEM ready?  Is this 2nd grade curriculum (heavy on global education and short on academics) helping students in basic math facts? Educating students to acquire technical/STEM degrees was a major Arne Duncan educational goal. Is this IB's  goal?  Taken from the Exhibition Guidelines pdf, IB's stated goal (page 4/25):

The International Baccalaureate (IB) offers three high quality and challenging educational programmes for a worldwide community of schools, aiming to create a better, more peaceful world.

Second graders studying about poverty and learning the answer is to send an organization to help poor people might tweak student guilt and compassion, but it won't equip them to become scientists, engineers, computer gurus or mathematicians.  Teaching them how to teach others not to fall in that poverty trap might be a good start in breaking the poverty cycle.  Does IB teach lessons that empower students to learn to take of themselves and not rely on institutions for basic needs?  

Traditionally, parents are to instill compassion into children, not a governmental institution.  Schools were to educate children in academics so they could become competent self-supporting adults and compassion sprang from morals instilled by parents.  Schools were not in the business of  teaching children compassion to become community organizers and fulfill a global, bureaucratic and/or corporatist idea of economic/social justice. 

1 comment:

  1. I have thought that public schools are not spending enough time on reading, writing and math subjects, and to much on non-essentials. Too many students are reading below their grade level. Colleges say many new students entering college test one, two, and three years below high school levels. These student are required then to take remedial classes before taking college level classes.


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