Gallup has a silver bullet for solving many of the world’s problems. Here it is: Every student in the world, from pre-K to higher ed, needs:
•Someone who cares about their development
•To do what they like to do each day
•To do what they are best at every day
That’s it. It should be the new bill of rights for all students -- and frankly, all people -- worldwide.
I am leery of silver bullets. But I am a huge fan of the rights of students. This list comes from a post I read this week here: http://thegallupblog.gallup.com/2013/05/the-new-bill-of-rights-for-all-students.html. I know the site is selling something. I understand the author of the post is not a teacher. However, there is some wisdom here, particularly the suggestion that each and every child have someone who cares about their development (and I would add, more importantly, someone who cares for the CHILD first and foremost). I would add some other rights to this as well.
The right to access all a child needs to be successful is something I have been considering lately. I glance around the room that functions as my office (and the TV room and the room where Scout naps during the day and the room that serves as a catch all from time to time). I have an iPad, a mini iPad, a smart phone, and two laptops (one that is new and the old one that I still need to pull files from before it moves on to recycling). I have access. But I know that my students do not have the access I do. I can get online most days with little effort. I know there are others who have to head to a library or coffee shop for access. If I want a book to read, I simply have to access one of the double stacked shelves I have. I have access. But I know there are many houses where that access is not simple, where books are not at hand. So, ACCESS to me is one right I would love to be able for all kids to have.
And I include access at school as well. How many computers are in the classroom? How much access do kids have to books, to computers, to materials they can use to create something? I know there are schools with 1:1 tablet systems. And I know there are schools where a classroom might have one computer, an older one, that does not provide much access for the 20 or 30 or more kids in that room. I know there are classrooms where there are hundreds and thousands of books in the class library. And I know there are school libraries that have fewer books. The schools with inadequate access are generally, of course, in schools where you can expect inadequate access in homes, too.
There are other rights, of course. Many years ago, the International Reading Association generated a powerful piece in 1999. You can download a PDF of the statement here: www.reading.org/downloads/positions/ps1036_adolescent.pdf. Note that access appears on many of these statements about what adolescents deserve. We need to go back to these fundamental statements again. This is what we need to use as we prepare lessons, gather materials, plan curriculum. ACCESS them now.