Sunday, November 25, 2012

Peace Education

At S.C. School, Behavior is One of the Basics
Education Week, October 25, 2012

This is an article about the implementing of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS).  While reading this article it reminded me of Maria Montessori’s Peace Education, for which she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The three basic principles of Peace Education are:
1. Freedom of choice and self-determination – which leads to self-respect, security and creativity.  These, in turn, lead to self-knowledge.

2. Respect and cooperation with our peers – once a child/student has achieved the security of genuine self-respect, that child has the ability to truly accept and respect others.  A deep understanding and acceptance of another person enables one to respect the other person and collaborate constructively with them.

3. Respect for the environment – for the immediate environment as well as for the whole planet.

Adults (teachers and parents) are responsible for creating a learning environment in which children/students can express their free choice and self-respect, and experience respect from and cooperation with their peers.

Adults also need to model the behavior they wish their children/students to follow.  We want them to absorb the behavior from our beingness, not from our classroom presentations.

Teachers should establish a special area in their classroom where students can go to work out their conflicts.  This might be a Peace Table or a Peace Corner with two chairs.  Some rules of behavior need to be established and followed, rules that follow and enhance to three basic principles of Maria Montessori’s Peace Education.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Reducing Science Education

Shocked & Appalled

Report: Science Reduced in Kan. Elementary Schools
Topeka, Kan.
Elementary schools in Kansas and four surrounding states have drastically reduced or even eliminated instruction in science because teachers feel pressured to improve performance in math and reading, according to a survey conducted by a Kansas school superintendent.

We cannot teach subjects in silos.  Math and science are intimately related, to reduce one reduces competency in the other.

George Griffith, superintendent of the Trego school district and a member of a Kansas committee drawing up new national science standards, told the Kansas Board of Education on Tuesday that he surveyed more than 900 elementary teachers in Kansas, Colorado, Missouri, Oklahoma and Nebraska as part of a doctoral dissertation.

His survey found as many as one in five elementary teachers in the states are reporting science grades on student report cards, even though they don't teach the subject or test pupils in it, The Lawrence Journal-World reported. The teachers said pressure to increase performance on reading and math tests prompted them reduce class time for science.

"I identified that a little over 55 percent of our K-6 teachers have decreased science education," Griffith said. "The average was between 30 minutes to an hour per week that they have cut it, with the main reason that they want to focus on reading and math assessments."

He said some of the pressure was from administrators and some came from the teachers' own beliefs.

Griffith said when he presented his findings to national organizations of science teachers, few people were surprised.

"This seems to be an ongoing theme around the country," he said. "It's not just in Kansas."

The federal No Child Left Behind Law tied federal funding for schools that serve high concentrations of low-income families to student achievement on reading and math tests. All schools were required to meet increasingly higher benchmarks each year for the number of students who scored proficient or better on standardized tests in those two subjects.

Kansas schools no longer have to meet those benchmarks because the state recently received a waiver from No Child Left Behind. But schools are still accountable for student performance in reading and math, using different measurements that consider more than the number of students who score above a certain level.

Board member Ken Willard, a Hutchinson Republican, said he wanted to know more about teachers who give grades in science without teaching it.

"That is unconscionable. It reflects a lack of integrity and it is not appropriate for Kansas students," he said.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

We’re reducing science education and then weep & cry, and beat our breasts about how low our student are ranked in the subjects of Science, Technology, English and Math.
Shame on us!!!