It’s Standardized Testing Season Again

It's testing season. It's that time again when my classes are half empty (half full). Students are spending hours at a time with their heads down, or staring at a screen, filling in bubbles because, in Florida, bubbles equal knowledge.

Losing Tolerance for Zero Tolerance

BREAKING DOWN THE ZERO TOLERANCE SCAM Many years ago I found myself in a conflict with my principal when I advocated for one of my students in the face of the school's zero tolerance policy. He was caught selling a necklace to another student. That was a punishable offense in and of itself. However, because this... Continue Reading →

Testing Season

HOW PUNITIVE HIGH STAKES TESTING DUMBS DOWN THE CLASSROOM An edited version of the following essay appeared in the Fort Myers News Press.  It’s mid-April, so let the testing season begin. This is the time of year when parents watch helplessly as their children become increasingly anxious. Teachers lose valuable instruction time as students are... Continue Reading →

Democracy Discriminates Against the Young

AN OBSERVATION ON BENJAMIN STUDEBAKER’S POST

A really excellent post. You bring up some great points. One thing does, however, stand out. Other democracies do, in fact, have publicly funded higher education (I don’t like to use the term “free”). If your critique of democracy as it applies to young people were generalizable, then what accounts for this? It seems that there is something peculiar about American democracy. Perhaps it is what I call the “I Got Mine!” principle. A true democracy, to function well, requires a sense of mutual responsibility. American democracy, unfortunately, is often predicated on the question, “what’s in it for me?” Even as this posts points out, it doesn’t seem to be a enough to point out the huge benefits of providing access to higher education without charging the students. Of course, the old people referred to are to blame as it is their job to socialize younger people to recognize their responsibility and mutuality toward others.

Benjamin Studebaker

Young people overwhelmingly support Bernie Sanders in this election, but many of them are not showing up. He crushed the demographic in Massachusetts, but still lost the state narrowly:

Young voters are just not keeping up with older folks:

This has been true for a long time–Millennials did not invent low youth voter turnout:

Many people see figures like this and their knee-jerk response is to scold young people for failing to show up, often attributing it to the laziness or lack of civic virtue of the current crop of young people. But as we see above, young people have been less active in politics since long before Millennials came on the scene. There are larger reasons why young people tend to feel disenfranchised by democratic politics–it’s because the system discriminates against them.

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Jim Crow 2.0

OUR CHILDREN ARE GROWING UP IN A NEW AGE OF SEGREGATION I like to use an educational technique that I call The Serendipitous Curriculum. I've been ribbed about it by administrators in the past, but I believe it is one of the most powerful tools in education. The process is simple. Whenever an unplanned opportunity... Continue Reading →

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