01
Aug
06

Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships

Bill Gates is doing something for education. Given the amount of money he has, he’s not doing enough, but that’s beside the point. He has finally put together a modernized version of the three R’s, so let’s discuss them, shall we?

Rigor: Making sure all students are given a challenging curriculum that prepares them for college or work.
Relevance: Making sure kids have courses and projects that relate to their lives and their goals.
Relationships: Making sure kids have adults who know them, look out for them, and push them to achieve.

Rigor – A curriculum that prepares students for college or work is important, ,but we need to standardize what is needed for college. A student who graduates in Florida certainly isn’t prepared for even state college in Pennsylvania. Many countries have nationalized their curriculum. I know people have issues with this as they think it is all about state’s rights. The problem is national at this point, and needs a slightly national solution. Also, no one seems to be seriously thinking about bringing back apprenticeships. I have greatly benefited from the experience of those around me. Imagine what kind of teacher I would be if I had the added experience of some field work when I was in high school. Students should have more hands-on experience at a younger age. Hopefully, Bill Gates has made friends with Howard Gardner.

Relevance – Though I agree with Bill on this, I think it was worded wrong. Teachers are trying to create projects to suit student’s individual needs and interests. Most of us spend a lot of time on current events – as long as we don’t get caught by our principals (these subjects are too controversial). The real issue is class size. Teachers can not individualize (or differentiate, to use the new buzz word) curriculum if they have 30 students at a time. Twelve is the perfect number, though eighteen is acceptable if it is absolutely necessary.

Relationships – Bill, you’re right. Kids need adults who love them and care for them. I have a great relationships with my students. I mentor them, I take them to lunch when there’s something serious going on in their lives, I even offered to adopt one who lost both of his parents. The thing is, teachers and schools can’t be responsible for everything. We do the best we can, but if kids don’t have a stable home environment, nothing we can do will help them reach their best potential. Most schools don’t have the money for volunteer after-school programs, and Bill Gates can’t fund all of them.

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I am not perfect. I do my best to practice what I preach, but I am human. My mantra is, "DO NO HARM". I may not always succeed, but I will always try. My goal is to be a better person today than I was yesterday.

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