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13 October 2014 @ 06:05 pm
Gimme that old time religion?  
I enjoyed the lovely piano solo before Mass yesterday. It was a mash-up of Swing Low, Sweet chariot and Give Me That Old Time Religion. It was jazzy, upbeat, bright. But I could not help but linger on the words of Give Me That Old Time Religion. Truth is, that old time religion included torture of "unbelievers," the Inquisition, and more. Old time religion also included the notion of The Elect, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, fire, brimstone, avenging angels, and more. No, I am not going to go on some sort of religous rant. But I think the same critical eye needs to be cast on education.

Time and again, we return to what some perceive as "kinder, gentler" times, times when classrooms were run by strict demands and rules. Times when ote was right, when classics meant dead white men. Times when corporal punishment was not only possible, it occurred with alarming frequency. And every time we try to move forward, there seems to be a horde that pushes us back to those good old times.

We are once again talking about "balance," about more grammar instruction (in isolation), critical reading of texts, writing formulaic essays. All of this demanded by someone's interpretation of CCSS. And while we are here at the CCSS station once again, why is it that there needs to be an almost constant flow of pieces that point out how some of us are misinterpreting the standards. Has anyone addressed this question: If there are so many misconceptions, might the fault not lie with those of us who pose critical questions but with the standards and how they were "rolled out" (sort of like militia?)?
Language that requires "unpacking" and "alignment" and "rigor" and "pillars" seem to me to obfuscate what is at stake here: the autonomy of the classroom teacher.

So, doot give me that old time religion. Give me instead compassion. Do ot give me old time education. Give me instead teacher autonomy.
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