Welcome to the blog

Years ago, when I first told people I wanted to teach, they looked at me as though I’d told them a flying saucer had landed in my backyard. Nonetheless, I taught 12th grade English for a long time, then took time away to write and have a family. Currently, I teach M.A. students in an English teacher education/certification program as I chip away at a doctorate.

Tell someone you teach these days and they shudder. Repeatedly I hear, “It’s a really bad time to be a teacher.”  I believe we’ve never faced such a critical period in education. There is constant talk of  standards as gaps widen–between rich and poor; African Americans, Latinos, and Caucasians; resources in suburban and city schools.

Progress in learning is supposed to be visible in the percentages of change in a school’s test scores. But these numbers can’t convey the terrible tension that fills corridors and classrooms during months of ‘test prep’ then doubles when testing time arrives. The numbers don’t explain the drop out rate that is climbing as high as 60% in some urban schools, the increasing rate of student drinking and use of other drugs in the supposedly ‘good’  schools.

What on earth are we doing?

Some say this is a time when public schooling as we know it could collapse. And yet, it is exactly this kind of turmoil that cracks open opportunities for change.

If we want that change, if we believe it is possible, then this is a time when we need all hands on deck.

3 responses to “Welcome to the blog”

  1. MeredithS says:

    The blog looks great, Karen! I’m excited to see the conversations that emerge here and honored to be in the blog roll.

  2. Karen says:

    Thanks, Meredith. Your thoughtful posts inspire me.

  3. Karen:
    Welcome to the blogosphere! You bring up excellent points about the tensions in our schools as a result of test prep and the ‘testing window.’ As a social science and journalism teacher, I worry about the focus on the TEST, rather than learning for a lifetime.

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