Click the picture to view Ilene’s testimony at 0:00.
My friend’s grandson is in the second grade and goes to school in New York. Listen to how he spends his days:
Students reviewed fish facts and fish body parts to prepare for the dissection of a fish. Later they cooked the fish which students ate for a snack.
Students designed their own fish with at least two adaptations. In integrated art students finished stuffing Hudson River fish showing their internal parts. They worked on a shadow puppet show of the book Tiger Tales. In math they acted out missing- part problems with partners and began a new unit on data collection and graphing. One day they counted pockets on their clothing and graphed it on a bar graph.
Note that at no time did he spend time doing blended learning. He worked on integrated units which reinforced his learning.
The SRC has approved contracts totaling over $15 million with Carnegie since 2016. Last October, APPS members warned about edu-vendor Carnegie Learning selling personalized learning – more students propped in front of screens instead of interacting with teachers and other students (Eyes Oct 17, 2017). The Hite administration is advocating the blended-learning model that supplies data but no real learning. Do you think you can reduce the number of teachers this way? It certainly disrupts the relationship between teachers and students which is where most authentic learning occurs.
Have you ever watched students working on personal learning programs? After a few minutes students read less carefully and click on answers faster and faster. They don’t listen to or read explanations to find out what they did wrong. They just click on buttons without thought. This is not education. This is not how my friend’s grandson spends his days.
It’s the same old song
And we know that blended learning is just plain wrong.
( Paraphrasing the Four Tops)
Computers have a place in schools but not the blended learning model.
I recently visited Girard College and saw how the tech teacher worked with students in fourth grade to create individual comic strips describing what the students learned when visiting Cliveden House, site of the Battle of Germantown on a class trip.
I also met students at Weavers Way coop studying food insecurity in Philadelphia; their lesson that day was about accessing nutritious food in a food desert. Students compared food prices at Weavers Way, Brown’s Shoprite and a mini-mart in Germantown. The computer was used to collate prices of ingredients and to take a survey of what students learned in this unit.
Why don’t you show, by your actions, that you value the education of Philly public school students enough to work for the same kind of education that my friend’s grandson is lucky to have? How about interesting thematic units instead of scripted learning, a well equipped library with a certified librarian, smaller class sizes, art and music teachers in every school for a start? No more wasting money on edu-vendors who prey on our students’ privacy and provide little real educational value.
It’s the same old song
And you sit and stare and know I’ll soon be gone.
(Paraphrasing the Four Tops)
Ilene Blitzstein Poses