Nit-picking “progressive” education directives are driving New York City teachers nuts, writes R.M. Isaac, a middle-school teacher in Queens, in the New York Daily News. An observer from the district office praised Isaac’s ability to teach college-level words to his seventh graders, but slammed him for writing vocabulary words in chalk on a traditional blackboard.
. . . spelling tests are disallowed because they supposedly strike fear, do not relate to experience and produce a distaste for language.
Teachers are warned not to correct errors with red ink because that color is “aggressive.” Grammar is not taught because it is “dull.” Children are encouraged to invent their own spelling so that they can discover the delights of creativity. Dictionaries are frowned on. They have been replaced by mandatory word walls where random but relevant-sounding terms are taped.
The disciples of progressivism imply that absolute standards trigger inner conflicts in kids, that they are natural learners who are mentally sterilized by direct teaching. In some schools, teachers’ desks are removed because they are symbols of authority. Other teachers receive unsatisfactory job ratings simply because their bulletin boards are not showpieces for visitors.
Educrats tour the building, consulting their checklists and looking for a host of missing items. Among these are rugs, rocking chairs and “mission statements.”
While children can’t be held to absolute standards, Isaac writes, teachers are forced to teach in the one right way dictated by the central office.