I was touched to read Professor Scheuerman’s story of Mrs. Braun’s and Ms. Sun’s dedicated daily correspondence which culminated in more than 4,000 letters at the time of Ms. Sun’s passing. I reflected on this story of intergenerational sharing of knowledge in tandem with one of the main ideas of this week’s subject matter. Scheuerman (2014) posited this essential question, “while we may prescribe a courses of study for young people, we are to take into consideration their abilities and interests in selecting instructional endeavor…How does this square with, we know what they need to know?” The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) represent the knowledge and process educators know students need in order to succeed academically. I think it is a positive step for school reform to have a research-based consensus for curriculum that teachers can use to ensure students are achieving learning expectations all through their grade school career. However, I feel that the focus on CCSS at this moment in education is making it difficult for teachers to be child emergent in instruction because a disproportionate amount of energy is focused on adapting the standards to work with their classroom culture. I think the type of character education that results in students having an authentic experience of cultivating a relationship where they practice service and loyalty to others is invaluable to empowering students to believe that their actions make a difference in the world- to prepare students to be involved citizens.
However, the Ellis (n.d.) article about educational reform reinforced for me the necessity for having an accountable structure for ensuring that we are meeting the academic needs of our students throughout their career. I hope that public schools will continue to move toward a model that empowers decision making at the local level. I think it is important for individual school communities to be able to collaborate to make decisions that will benefit each unique educational community. If we are to expect our students to believe in their ability to invoke change by being active citizens, we should be able to have a decisive voice in policy as teachers to model this in our service to our school community.
Scheuerman, R. (Producer). (2014, July). .Session 4 Podcast A: The Roman Way and Traditional Values [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://dl.dropbox.com/u/79839793/session%204%20podcast%20a.mp3
A. Ellis. (n.d.) Educational Foundations. Retrieved from http://mountainlightschool.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/session-4-ellis-educational-reform.pdf