Monday, August 13, 2012
Lucy Calkins and Her Teacher's College Cult of Failure
Would you feed someone that has high cholesterol, or heart problems KFC's Double Down (bacon, cheese, sauce, between two pieces of chicken), mashed potatoes w/gravy, and a mashed potato bowl? No.
So why is it that in chronically poverty stricken areas of NYC, where students come into kindergarten lagging so far behind, where each day it is a struggle to learn, where they don't get support at home, why is it we as real educators continually get shoved down our throats the teachings of the cult of Teacher's College reading and writing crap, led by its supreme leader Lucy Calkins? A person that has never ever taught a day in her life.
The cult of TC is leading our students down a path towards ignorance and the inability to read. As one leading educator has shared with the Crack Team, "TC is making our children in NYC dumber than wood."
But what is it about TC that is so bad, so dangerous to the minds of our students? Simply put, the basic tenants of reading and writing are ignored.
Students do not learn any grammar, there are no writing mechanics to speak of. TC relies on independent work, even for the most left behind student.
With all this testing being foisted upon students and relying solely upon test scores to evaluate teachers, with an ELA tests that emphasizes, and states, spelling and grammar are paramount, TC provides none of the basics for the students to do well on the ELA exam.
Decoding, fluency, are lacking. TC offers no practice books to develop writing skills. Zero skills books. Teaching vocabulary is frowned upon as is spelling.
Our students are becoming illiterate and no one above the rank of "teacher" seems to care. This is the damage that TC's program is doing to our students, to our schools, to our communities, to children's futures.
We can not teach, and students can not learn, without the basics the same way a pitcher can't throw a fastball with out the basics, the same way a batter can't hit without the basics. As these children get older and they are reading to learn and not learning to read anymore where will there skills sets be to learn how to decode with words they don not know? These skills are vital to learn at a young age for they last a lifetime. I should know! From the ages of 4-9 I was in speech therapy for a major articulation issue. I remember in my 20's I was reading something aloud and had difficulty pronouncing a word. A friend of mine (who happened to be a speech therapist) told me that she could tell I was in speech therapy, that I was still using the skills I learned so many years earlier. Our students today are not acquiring any lasting skills.
Teacher's College can cost up to $1,600 a day, Surely, there are better ways for a school to spend their monies. More troubling is how anyone in their right mind in a position of leadership and decision making can allow the infiltration of the TC cult into a school. Schools are abandoning TC left and right, right and left. Ask yourself Lucy, how many schools in Westchester County get suckered by you? The only reason one implement TC is to go with the flow, to conform, to follow the leader. The mindless always follow the crowd.
As long as we are damaging the students, let's just feed them White Castle cheeseburgers, fries, and milk shakes at lunch. But there would be howls of protests if we do. Where are the same howls at those wishing and contributing to the demise of students by implementing Teacher's College's Reading and Writing Project. It is time to step up.