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Profile of Learning in the Classroom

May 23, 2002

Dear Maple River:

I am a social studies teacher. I have gone along with the standards stuff (do I have a choice?) but am presently fed up. My students sure know how to do inquiry research and plann a really cool trip to Europe, but they do not know much about the rest of the world and where things are located. My year was bogged down in all sorts of fun little projects. We are now told, "Students don't have to do packages. Packages need to be implemented into the curriculum." (The word used is embedded...)

Whenever I talk about the need for learning core knowledge, the need for memorizing country locations, the need for testing students on key ideas about American government, I am pooh-poohed by some fellow staff members.

I have been teaching ten years. I know what works. Memory work served me quite well. As a youngster, I was compelled to memorize my times tables to 13. Imagine the uproar from the experts if a third grade teacher expected that today! Guess what--I can count change, multiply, subtract, and divide. I can even do change in my head! Some people today cannot figure out the change at a till if you throw an extra four cents on the counter.

Because I work in a school where the board and administration can be SO political, I would ask that you not use my name. I am tenured, but fear for my job if the "wrong" comments come from me. I was nearly non-renewed at tenure time. I suspect that two or three very liberal board members do not like me one bit, and would love a reason to sack me. Our administration has also bought into the seamless web, hook line and sinker. They have made the comment that "even if the state declared the standards dead, we will never abandon them."

Maybe I need to find an alternative school where children learn to read, write, and love their country.

Yours truly,
A concerned teacher and parent.

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