As a teacher I know that what occurs in my classroom is a small part of educating my students, even in my own domain of social studies. As a music major who teaches government and also coaches soccer, it has always been clear to me that school is about far more that mere intellectual development. History is replete with examples of the damage done when we develop the intellect and fail to develop behavior, morality, concern for others, physical awareness, and so on. And in a liberal democracy (for those two words are an accurate description in political science terms of our form of government) we should not be attempting to force all students to be the same – our society is enriched and enlivened by our variety and our differences, and our educational practices should be informed by an awareness of the importance of and respect for those differences.
The post is about a report from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
Reading the post and the report, I was struck by how many of the ideas and approaches are similar to the work of the MMSD Equity Task Force. For example, the report calls for “cooperative effort by communities, schools, and teachers, each responsible for providing part of the necessary context,” and the charges to each include:
family support and involvement
Government, civic, and business support and resources
challenging and engaging curriculum
a safe, healthy, orderly, and trusting environment
a climate that supports strong relationships between adults and students
evidence-based assessment and instructional practices
rich content and an engaging learning climate
student and family connectedness
The Equity Task Force draft guidelines include:
Create a climate that welcomes and values all students, families, and community members.
Engage families and community members in schools, children’s education, and the success of all students.
Challenge teachers and students to develop an appreciation for all cultures and to learn to thrive in a multicultural society.
Make opportunities and resources available for teachers and staff to promote recognition that students must take different roads to learn.
Adopt consistently rigorous, culturally inclusive, evidence-based curriculum, and teaching and assessment practices district-wide.
The Equity Task Force is currently scheduled to present to the Board of Education on April 9th.
Thomas J. Mertz