Why Does Public Education Need To Be Scripted?

A young and popular principal in the DC public school system quit to open a cupcake shop instead.

Bill Kerlina recently opened up to the Washington Post about the frustrations that led to his resignation. He said that there was no support for teachers — “reform” means just firing them — and some parents were racist and entitled.

Considering that the school he worked at is across the street from the prestigious Sidwell Friends private school, he said that it could learn a lesson or two from its neighbor:

One way to lure neighboring families — restricting the number of out-of-boundary seats — would be a “horrible mistake,” Kerlina wrote, as “the diversity at Hearst is what makes it a great school.”

He offered another solution: Move the school toward “inquiry-based learning,” stressing group activities, hands-on projects and student curiosity. It’s standard practice, he said, at the private school across 37th Street NW.

“The reason people spend [more than $30,000] a year to send their children to Sidwell is because they believe in inquiry-based learning,” Kerlina wrote. “DCPS does not — the approach is too scripted and doesn’t allow for students to think outside of the box.”

I know that not all public schools are the same, and there are some pretty damn good ones. But “white flight” — or more like “upper middle class flight” — is something I have noticed in not just DC and New York, but the San Francisco Bay Area.

As someone who visited the local public schools, I was frustrated by not only the way foreign language was implemented, but the “teaching to the test” — which I saw firsthand — was a turnoff, big time. There is no comparison to that and inquiry-based learning, especially if your child has already been learning that way.

Which leads me to the point of this post: President Obama and a lot of members of Congress send their kids to private schools. Why the heck would they think that this scripted testing culture would be good for public school children and not their own? It doesn’t make sense.

I was also struck by the disparity between the DC public schools and its suburbs. Why? Did any of you read this story? What did you think?


Tuesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

Thank you to all of you who have written or called to ask about my mother-in-law in El Salvador. Hurricane Ida hit the country on Sunday and has killed 124 people, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Fortunately, my MIL is out of the country on vacation and was not affected. But I did call her office in San Salvador yesterday and a worker assured me that they are all safe. The hurricane hit a nearby town, but it was poor people living in huts and shanties who were the most impacted. My heart goes out to them. Let’s keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

In healthcare news: I admit I was so happy that the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill with a public option that I did not allow myself to get hung up over the abortion restrictions in the bill. But this disturbs me: According to a mom over at the RH Reality Check blog, the restrictions on abortion are so severe that even private health insurance companies participating in the exchange wouldn’t be allowed to cover D&Cs following miscarriages. Forcing women to carry dead fetuses/babies — that they wanted — is just cruel. I don’t know what I would have done if after carrying a dead fetus for three weeks — this happened to me before I had Ari — I was told I couldn’t have a D&C. I was distraught and I needed to move on. Okay, I am getting off my soapbox now.

That said, I will still support this bill as long as it has a strong public option. Granting everyone the right to see a doctor — without going bankrupt for it — is better than nothing.

Attention fellow Twilight fans: Author Stephenie Meyer will be on the Oprah Winfrey Show this Friday, November 13, Meyer announced on her blog. She will be on hand to discuss the new movie New Moon, which is based on the second book of her Twilight series.

This is, literally, horribly depressing: Suicide rates are up in the most economically depressed areas of the country, according to MSNBC.

Wal-Mart is shamelessly starting its “Black Friday” deals early, according to MSN Money. Um, can we celebrate Thanksgiving first?

OTOH, Mamapedia had a helpful discussion on what to tip — or what is a suitable holiday gift — to a nanny, daycare provider or babysitter.

Katy Farber over at Non-Toxic Kids has an informative article on how cleaning supplies at schools are harmful to children. Also by Katy Farber: Children are consuming unsafe levels of the chemical bisphenol-A (BPA), which is in canned goods and plastic plates and cups.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?