Newburgh Free Academy
201 Fullerton Avenue, Newburgh NY 12553
I found your website to be Awesome!!! I am an aspiring art teacher but the more I’m in school the more I seem to be wondering if I’m going down the right path. America has become a corporation controlled by the dollar and it seems they are trying to eradicate creativity so they can have more robots working in Wall-Marts. My mom was a public school teacher and loved her job, but she states she got out before it went downhill. I want to help people but I don’t where to begin. Many public schools are cutting there arts program. I feel I’ll be a cop out teaching kids in a private or charter school because they already got it made. I was wondering if you know of any schools (anywhere in the world) where creativity and the imagination are measured instead of “robot” tests aka standardized, and any kid can attend (their parents wallet-size doesn’t matter). Do those schools exist yet? You seem like an authentic person who wants to change the world and that is why I ask…
I so enjoy your blog that I nominated it for the Sunshine Award, an award created by bloggers for bloggers. Check out my latest post for rules and join in on the fun!
Thank you for sharing. I have been interested in the success of Finnish teachers for some time. I look forward to learning with you.
Got your card from Petersburg. Hope you enjoyed the town as much as we did.
I just watched your flip book video. You make an passionate appeal, but I am a skeptic by nature. It would help me to understand your position if understand your bias. Would you mind sharing who funded the production of your video? Also, could you explain your thoughts on the role of teachers’ unions and the NEA in the educational process? It would help me to understand how you see these organizations benefitting our children. Lastly, I would be curious to know how you believe we should address the unabated downward slide of our public education system relative to other developed nations.
Please understand that I am not advocating the so-called private/public partnership you seem to oppose, but I do not think the approach we have taken since the introduction of unions into the educational system has served our children either. I believe there are many dedicated, qualified teachers out there, so my questions are not meant to denegrate those hardworking, self-sacrificing teachers.
Thank you for considering my questions.
wow. I just typed a whole big response to this and it disappeared. I will try again, but I am running out of steam 🙂
Thanks, first of all, for watching the video and joining in the conversation. I will try to answer your questions as best I can, but I certainly don’t pretend to know everything about educational reform in America, or union matters…
First off, the video was in no way funded…although that would have been nice 🙂
I taped it on my iPhone from my apartment by balancing it on a clothes drying rack that I propped over the table. I bought all the drawing supplies (it wasn’t much) from the mall next door. When I finished recording I recorded an audio voice over (I do this with my students) and just messed with it a bit in iMovie and viola!
okay, just wanted to hit send in case it disappeared again 🙂
So as for union and the NEA…
I know at the local level I am very appreciative of my union. I don’t always agree with them, but I certainly see the value of such an organization (and I am not referring to salary increase or anything like that, more that they are able to mediate and slow the bombardments coming from the state and federal level as far as what to me are hastily thought out initiatives…)
I see unions as beneficial to students because they give teachers a much needed voice in the process I described above (to finish answering your question)
As far as our “unabated downward slide”…I don’t know… I am in Finland right now and seeing great things happening in the schools…but also, some not so great things. When you compare PISA results with students in the US who live in districts with (even 10% more) poverty than in Finland, those students outperform their Finnish counterparts… so I think we need to be focusing more on how to address the poverty that many kids suffer from in the US in order to really start making progress…
I think they prepare teachers better, but, like most things, that would require more funding, which I don’t see happening any time in the near future.
These are all interesting things to think about. I do think that there has been a purposeful attempt to make it seem like education is worse than it is in the US (why won’t anyone who has any power admit that median household income of a given district is literally directly proportional to test scores?) and to demonize the teachers’ unions in an attempt to convince the public that we need more testing and externally sourced curriculum (why aren’t teachers capable of determining what they teach in the classroom as they are here in Finland?) I literally spend a majority of my time doing things to be a better teacher (I just gave up my husband, house, dogs, family, friends, and shipped myself to a foreign country for almost four months to become a better practitioner and learn strategies to bring back to my classroom and my colleagues. When I get back, I am spending the entire month of July facilitating Professional Development for teachers for almost no compensation…so that statement is not just lip service…and I am not complaining either, I LOVE what I do). But, no offense to the powers that be in the US, but I think I know what my students need more than they do -since they DON’T know them; I think I know how better to educate them then the narrowed, prescibed curriculum and test prep that they want me to do.
Anyway, I don’t want to get on a rant, as I easily might do. I just spent the entire day on the computer making my first Infographic, so my brain is pretty fried. I hope I answered your questions… If you would like to share your opinions, I would love to hear them!
I also apologize in advance because I am too burned out to proofread this 🙂
All best, Christine
I just found your blog by watching the video on standardized testing. I am a first year teacher at a private school and although we do not participate in standardized testing, I went through it in my own education and understand the frustrations. I also felt the frustrations as a tutor of some ESL students who were not aware of their rights to opt-out for the first year of their time in America. I have briefly read parts of your blog and plan to continue reading more but I feel empowered by what I have seen and hope to carry that passion back into my classroom. Next year I will be teaching high school Spanish and History and hope to funnel some of my spirited passions and take charge attitude to my students so they aren’t taken advantage of by the business we used to call school. I reposted your video and added my comments as well:
“Awesome video about the lack of benefits for standardized testing in the way we know it today. I agree that standardized testing does not test a child on what they know. I agree that standardized testing is not a basis for an evaluation of instruction. I agree that standardized testing is stressful and promotes test anxiety by the hype that schools give it. And I agree that parents and educators need to inform themselves on the truth of standardized testing. As teachers we go through years of training and trust me, it does not stop when you graduate from college. We learn constantly. It is a profession that never stops learning. By going through classes upon classes to graduate to educate the next generation, when did we ever learn that formal assessments were the best way to gauge learning? When were we ever taught that T/F, multiple choice, and short answers were ideal for gauging effectiveness of learning, understanding, and teaching skills? No! We were taught to make education engaging. To make education fun. To make education a priority. To make education a team effort between the community, the parent, the child, and the teacher. I was NOT taught to teach to the test. I was NOT taught to base my value as an educator in my students scores. I was NOT taught to talk up tests so much that students have anxiety issues. And I WAS taught to be an advocate for my students when no one else will. Although I see the reasoning behind having a national gauge of education, it cannot be a test that tests on test taking skills. I can take these tests on material I never learned and pass with 3’s and above just because I was taught how to take a test. I have had more than enough tests that test how I take a test. It is time to test students on what they actually know.”
wow. Thanks for the kind words and for the thoughtful response and repost. Best of luck to you. I will definitely check out your writing as well!
I found this site after watching a video you posted and was intrigued by your journey. As a second career high school English teacher to be (1more year of grad school) I find myself drawn to the prospect of working with children who are struggling to find their way in life. Keep us posted and please share ideas that I could one day incorporate into my class. Best
Hey! Don’t know if you heard….Georgia just opted out of Common Core…am so hopeful now. Thanks for your activism. xo
Just wanted to drop you a line…I miss you girl!
We are all very proud of you. Loved the video!
Just saw this on the Newburgh Web Site. Everyone’s so proud of you. So glad you got to go. What a wonderful experience. I’m enjoying this blog a lot. Thanks for doing it.
Thanks, Janice. It has certainly proved to be a very productive, extraordinary and eye- opening experience so far! Tell everyone I said hi and thanks for checking this out 🙂
Will do. Keep up the great work. The blog is so interesting.
Christine, I watched the video letter you wrote to parents and was moved to watch all your short videos and find this blog. You are an amazing person, and a really great writer. I’m so glad to have found you. I think there is a book here. Or there will be. You have a great voice and you see things. I’m in Chicago. I have a third grader in CPS. We will be going to the rally tomorrow to stand against school closings. I loved your piece about the rocks. Sigh. Sending warm wishes, Kristin
Kristin! Thank you so much for the kind words and enthusiastic response to my writing. I have been closely following your struggles via the internet and am sending tons of good vibes in the direction of the Chicago teachers and parents! All best in your fight for what is right for students 🙂
This is awesome! The district posted this link on its main page.I admire you for embarking on this journey and I look forward to reading more about all that you experience.
Thanks, Dennis! Thanks also for taking the time to check it out. Finland is amazingly beautiful and I am learning so much about education, social reform, myself… what fun!
Hi Christine! Thank you for sharing. Your journey is a wonder. I’m proud of you!
Thanks, Shirley! And thank you for checking this out! It is people like you who inspire me to be doing this everyday I am here! xo
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