With guest, Louder Than a Bomb poet Nate Marshall

Friday, June 12, 2009

Summer's here and the time is right...

As the weather turns warm on this last week of school, two thoughts cross my mind. First, why do the school reformers hate summer so much? I mean, if kids really forget everything they've been taught all year, during their summer vacation, then what's going to happen when they graduate and have a whole lifetime to forget?

Then I'm thinking about the old rhyme kids used to chant as they were racing out of the schoolyard for the freedom of summer break: "No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers..." and wondering if this hasn't become the new mantra of the education budget cutters.

“Boring” a Common Complaint Among Dropouts

Kids aren’t searched when they enter Whitney Young, and this makes a big impression on Mykelle. They don’t have to wear uniforms either—there are no gangs here. Ninety-eight percent of Whitney Young kids graduate. (City Room, WBEZ)
Last day of school

Here's my brother doing what he does best, writing and thinking about teaching and learning. (Fred Klonsky's Blog)

Good Read

Just read a good, short critique of the new, save-the-world power philanthropists like Gates and Broad, " Just Another Emperor?: The Myths and Realities of Philanthrocapitalism", by Michael Edwards (Demos). He counterposes "market metrics" with "democratic accountability" as drivers of social change. You can download it for free, here or buy it like I did, for 12 bucks.


  1. Hi Mike -

    At a recent Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), the subcommittee chairman, said he favored an eleven-month school year -- which Sec. Arne Duncan responded "twelve".

    When informed of this exchange, my 7th grade daughter replied "But I thought President Obama had prohibited torture."

    My question: are they TRYING to increase the dropout rate?

  2. Summer and extended learning are becoming increasingly slippery issues for educators to keep an eye on...the issue for summer may be that "enrichment" comes for some and not others.

  3. What really sucks here in Chicago is that they start summer school the day after regular school ends. Kids have no time off for family fun, neighborhood fests, going to the beach, playing sports in summer leagues, etc... It's all more time on task, going over the same boring stuff that turned them off all year, just to try and get test scores up a few notches. Too bad for us teachers who have to spend our summers in these sauna-like classrooms right along with our students.


Agree? Disagree? Let me hear from you.