I have been volunteering at Jack's school all this semester with the second graders during Investigative Learning. They spend about 40 minutes, 3 days a week, covering topics like cooking, science, writing, etc. The kids get to choose the topic they want to attend each 3-week session, so they are shuffled out of their normal classroom and teacher. This time, I have been with a different second grade teacher than when I first started. We have been talking about stories and creating books. Yesterday, they volunteered to read their books in front of the group. It was just amazing how some of the kids could barely write simple words and some couldn't read what they had written. It wasn't sloppy, they just didn't know what it said. Not even from remembering what they had written while someone helped them write it down.
These are second graders. No one has taken the time to teach them phonics, so eventually they may "get it" after years of being told what and how to write, but it is going to be so much harder for them. Granted, a couple of the kids were able to write out some full sentences with hardly any misspellings, but there were maybe three of those in a group of twelve. When I compare that to the kids in the first grade in Jack's room? It just reinforces why I go to work with them.
I wish people would take more time with their kids, give them credit for being able to learn something. Instead, we have kids at the school who aren't taught anything at home and have no consequences for any bad behavior they perform as a result of no guidance. Then they bring that behavior to school, and it becomes the teachers and schools responsibility to keep them in line. Not exactly fair.
Someone told me today that Urbana's school district was going to lose a large amount of funding because the school didn't pass the minimum for a test. The reason? The kids who really needed to be there for the test chose not to come to school. Way to go parents! The public schools are getting killed of by NCLB. I have a feeling it is going to become much worse before it gets better. Especially considering Margaret Spellings is now the education secretary.
Okay, done with that vent. Time for lunch, then back to work.