Unless you are in Clark County Schools.
My children go to public school.
I believe very strongly in a public education for all children.
I am married to a teacher.
I went to public school.
As an employer, albeit a small one, I think a strong education system is vital to attracting and keeping businesses in the area.
I don't want to live in a city of morons. Las Vegas was most recently named the Dumbest City in America for the lack of our academic prowess.
It's an embarrassment and a shame.
Our school district frequently ranks near the bottom of all national rankings. I usually blame the parents, but this time, this time, my friends I am blaming the system.
We have a principal at our school that I was warned about from nearly everyone in our neighborhood prior to starting school. I would like to add that towards me directly, she has always been professional. I personally have had no bad interactions with her. I, at first, thought people must surely be exaggerating.
I do not doubt the stories any longer. I will get to that in a minute.
I don't want to get involved in employer/employee issues. It's not my role as a parent. It is not my issue.
My issue is they took the crayons out of the first grade classrooms.
Yes, you read that right.
They REMOVED THE CRAYONS.
There is, apparently, no need for crayons any longer at the first grade level.
Sorry kids. You're 7. Time to grow up, Buttercup.
When my daughter told me this, I thought I misunderstood. It was towards the end of the year. I thought maybe the crayons were looking nasty and they were cleaning up. Or that kids had been eating them. That was popular with a few kids when I was in 1st grade (and glue...although for some, that seemed to continue into adulthood...).
Nope. The principal told the 1st grade teachers to get rid of the crayons.
They are not part of the core curriculum and therefore, since they are not tested on coloring, there is no need for it.
I could NOT make this up.
I don't even LIKE to color and I'm horrified. In fact, I joke that my inability to color has never impacted my career. But wait a minute...
Coloring is creativity. Creativity is absolutely, positively what makes our country stand out. New ideas. Ingenuity.
Things that crayons inspire.
The Mother's Day gifts this year had to utilize the core curriculum. No pencil holders or vases. Or the politically incorrect ashtrays that we made when I was in school. My daughter's teacher whom I love had them do these cute little construction paper purses and they wrote facts about their moms, like they were books. It was great. Honestly, I preferred it over another vase. But the teacher had to fight to show that it was part of the blessed curriculum.
Astrocamp- a weekend spent in the mountains with scientists studying astronomy, geology, physics while ziplining and rock climbing that I was privileged to chaperone for my son's 4th grade class-- was cancelled. It interfered with the testing dates.
Seriously people- what do you think my son benefited from more-- a standardized test or Astrocamp?
Sea Camp-- something my son has been looking forward to for the past 5 years-- was intentionally moved to a date that will be impossible for the teacher to get enough kids to sign up for-- because it's expensive.
Which is used to pay for---
You guessed it- tutoring. Which is a fancy way to say "test prep." The criteria for qualifying for this tutoring is your test scores.
And the Rubik's Cube club that I wanted to start-- nope. It would interfere with the tutoring. When I pointed out that the kids who were in tutoring probably wouldn't do the Rubik's Cube club, I was told that if not every kid could participate, then we (the school) couldn't do it. It almost sounds logical.
We hold the national championship for Rubik's Cube in Las Vegas, by the way. Which is what inspired my son to want to start it. Other elementary schools have teams and compete.
Or here's a thought-- maybe those kids COULD benefit from learning a different type of math by solving the Rubik's Cube? Call me crazy.... I mean look at these crappy universities that waste their time on it...
MIT's Rubik's Cube Club Princeton's Rubik's Cube Club Cornell's Rubik's Cube Club Stanford's Rubik's Cube Club
Or what about the other 550 kids who don't go to tutoring? Do they have to suffer?
My son, who does robotics, was set to share his knowledge with the upper grades last year. The principal found out about it and he wasn't allowed. He was very upset. It wasn't part of the core curriculum.
You know, science and applied mathematics...
Oh wait... that IS on the test... maybe if he had done his presentation as a set of multiple choice questions...
Ballroom dancing. Gone.
Fitness club. Gone.
Chess club. Gone.
Mad Science. Gone.
Now, I will say, some of these activities cost money, so that was also an issue. But again, when kids can't raise funds for their specific activities, what are their options?
Sorry kid-- you are poor. You can't do anything fun. Now back to filling in bubbles.
Our school is representative of everything that is wrong in education today.
My friend's daughter was recently flagged as needing special education. They suddenly started to get robo calls from the school telling them about open enrollment options at other schools. Her other daughter, was welcome to stay. No robo calls for her or my children about open enrollment and transfer options. They were basically trying to pawn off her daughter to another school. To keep their test scores up.
And the WORST part- after having 30% of the staff leave on a regular basis- is the district has known there were issues for the past 7 years and has chosen to do nothing about it.
That made me flip my lid.
Seven years they've been looking into the high staff turnover and high request for zone variances out of the school.
Seven years. They have reports tracking the departure of teachers and students.
And they've done nothing.
Because the test scores are great.
At what cost?
And again, I don't know that I necessarily fault the principal-- she is doing exactly what she is being told to do.
To a point that it's ridiculous, yes, but still - nearly half of her evaluation is based on test scores.
Test scores that should be used to evaluate where children stand.
To decide who needs more help and give them the additional assistance needed.
To identify gifted children and make sure they are given extra resources to thrive and meet their potential.
They are not, nor should they EVER be used to determine compensation or teacher and administrator competency.
Because, I'm sorry, my child's education should be incentive enough. There shouldn't be a bonus or a promotion if they learn.
And the children that need help shouldn't be shoved aside or forced to stay after school so they can take a standardized test so people get paid or rated well.
These aren't widgets. They are children. They are unique individuals.
Of course there are bad teachers-- that is why they have evaluations. That is why when the parents kick and scream the district should listen. And clearly they don't.
They should not use standardized test scores as a defense to prove that someone is a good teacher.
And crayons, my friends, they are not the weapons of anarchy.
When creative and original thought becomes a negative within a system- for students and teachers-- we have taken 10 steps backwards.
I don't want to live in the world where people can't think or see the forest for the trees.
I don't want to be in a district where SEVEN years of complaining is overridden by test scores. Test scores that are "earned" because of behavior that is harming my children's education.
When you take crayons away from children you are essentially duct taping their minds.
They are taking away the crayons.
We must act before we live in a world without color.
Look... Crayola even has lessons plans for teachers....
Crayola's Lesson Plans for Teachers