Adults will earn credit for what they know

Adults will be able to earn college credit for what they already know from the University of Wisconsin’s competence-for-credits option.

Parents, let your kids fail

Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail, writes Jessica Lahey in The Atlantic.

Thirteen years ago, when I was a relatively new teacher, stumbling around my classroom on wobbly legs, I had to call a students’ mother to inform her that I would be initiating disciplinary proceedings against her daughter for plagiarism, and that furthermore, her daughter would receive a zero for the plagiarized paper.

“You can’t do that. She didn’t do anything wrong,” the mother informed me, enraged.

“But she did. I was able to find entire paragraphs lifted off of web sites,” I stammered.

“No, I mean she didn’t do it. I did. I wrote her paper.”

Overprotective parents are raising their children without “the emotional resources they will need to cope with inevitable setback and failure,” writes Lahey.

It’s hard to teach children who’ve been shielded from frustration and failure. Kids can’t learn from their mistakes if their parents never let them make any.

. . . teachers don’t just teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. We teach responsibility, organization, manners, restraint, and foresight. These skills may not get assessed on standardized testing, but as children plot their journey into adulthood, they are, by far, the most important life skills I teach.

Her students who are “happiest and successful in their lives” are the ones  who were “allowed to fail, held responsible for missteps, and challenged to be the best people they could be in the face of their mistakes.”

 

Schools that work, literally

In Schools That Work, Literally in National Review, Samuel Casey Carter praises the Cristo Rey network of urban Catholic schools which send students into corporate jobs one day a week.

“The educational quality of the program is fundamentally different in kind from what anyone else offers,” says Christopher Connor, the CEO of Sherwin-Williams, “because these students are employable. They have work skills and life skills to match that come through the work-study program.”

As much as 70 percent of school costs are covered by students’ earnings, allowing the schools to charge very low tuition to low-income and working-class parents. If students work extra days, they keep their earnings.

 Cristo Rey provides rich and regular opportunities for its students to acquire the skills, relationships, and professional behaviors of successful adults by exposing them to the rigorous expectations of the professional workplace.

Despite the four-day academic week, Cristo Rey students complete college-prep courses. At the school in Boston, all graduates were admitted to a four-year college or university this year. One girl is headed for MIT.

In 1979, kids could roam, but not read

Is Your Child Ready for First Grade On Chicago Now, Christine Whitley reprints a 1979 first-grade readiness check list for parents. In addition to age (six years, six months), the child should be able to give his address to crossing guard, color between the lines, tell the left hand from the right, stand on one foot with eyes closed for five to ten seconds, repeat a short sentence and count eight to 10 pennies correctly. Also:

6. Can he ride a small two-wheeled bicycle without helper wheels?

8. Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (four to eight blocks) to store, school, playground, or to a friend’s home?

“What a reality check!”, writes Lenore Skenazy on Free Range Kids.

 Can we all pause to remember that the very thing that terrifies so many parents today — a simple walk around the neighborhood — was not something reserved for kids age 10 or 12 or 15 just a generation ago? It was something that first graders did. And presumably those first graders got some practice as kindergarteners!

The academic expectations are much higher today, notes Slate’s XX Factor blog. In academic terms, the 1979 first grader would be on target for preschool today. “In terms of life skills, she’s heading for middle school, riding her two-wheeled bike and finding her own way home.”

Mom walked me to school the day before kindergarten started in 1957, so I’d know the route.  After that, I walked with my sister, a first grader, and all the other baby-boom kids in the neighborhood. We all walked or bicycled without parental supervision.

Parents were told not to teach their children to read because they might do it incorrectly.  So I had to learn from my sister, when she learned in first grade.