My wonderful, and now deceased, first wife used to tell me – endearingly – “How can somebody so smart in so many ways be so dumb in others?”
It’s my turn to ask that same question – minus the endearing tone – to David Brooks, who seems to lose any sense of rationality whenever he writes about education-related issues, as I’ve regularly pointed in this blog.
After first making some excellent points about how people can improve their decision-making abilities, he suggests that a class on it should be included in schools. Of course, anyone teaching good Social Emotional Learning skills is already doing that, but I don’t have any problem with him making the suggestion.
Teaching social emotional learning skills must be paired with helping our students see the institutional obstacles they face to success and strategies – individual and collective – they can use to overcome them.
Though, as far as I know, there hasn’t yet been research connecting Obamacare to higher academic achievement, I suspect that those results will be found (let me know if you are aware of any related research). I assume it’s still too soon.
One group left out of Obamacare were the undocumented.
That omission is beginning to change here in California.
Beginning on May 16th, undocumented children under the age of 18th will be eligible for Medi-Cal, the state-run health insurance program for low-income residents. It covers both physical and mental health issues, which will be a huge help for many of our students who have experience trauma, particularly unaccompanied minors from Central America.
Of course, it will still be a challenge to find an adequate number of providers who accept Medi-Cal, but it’s a great start.
You can find more information about the expansion at:
I, though, was particularly impressed with a nuanced piece in The Atlantic titled Why Would a Teacher Cheat? Without excusing the Atlanta teachers, writer Alia Wong examines the broader question of teacher “leniency” in grading. Here’s an excerpt:
I’ve don’t believe I’ve ever done anything that would be labeled “cheating” by anybody. However, all of us have a great deal of discretion in student assessment.
The guiding principle for me is always, “What do I think will move this student forward?” That doesn’t mean moving him/her into situations where I don’t think they will be adequately prepared. However, might I have on occasion passed students who some others might have felt had not”earned” a passing grade because I didn’t feel failing them would be in their best interest? Perhaps (see The Best Resources For Learning About Grade Retention, Social Promotion & Alternatives To Both).
We teachers can hold enormous power to affect the trajectory of our students’ lives. That amount of power requires some discretion in how we use it.