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Comments

Ann

Many days it feels as if our entire K-12 education system is caught in the eye of its own terrible hurricane. The days we are wrapped up in NCLB, federal demands, budget woes, and state standards we tend to spin out of control and forget what we value in education, those things that pulled us to working with children in schools. What is it that we value? What makes a good teacher, principal, paraprofessional, secretary, bus driver, cook or crossing guard? What kind of relationships do we need to have with our students in order for them to become the people that we want them to be? What experiences do we provide to help young people become participatory members of a democracy? In addition to reading, writing and math skills, what do we need to provide children so they are productive, healthy and happy as they move into adulthood?
In The Carrot you read about the powerful messages of Nel Noddings. See her most recent article in the September issue of Educational Leadership. The entire issue focuses on the whole child as it examines the importance of environment, relationships, caring and acceptance that are vital for student success.
Our students can’t afford for us to ignore what we value any longer. Educators, parents, caregivers and community members - What are you doing to provide for the whole child? How can others support you?

chris

Many evacuees say they didn't get what they needed when they needed it. Are we giving kids what they need when they need it? Are we giving them tools to help them survive in the world? Those "tools" cannot, and will never be, purely academic. Our job as educators is so defined by test scores in the midst of all the standardized tests and NCLB. Are these tests needed? Probably. We need to measure growth. Do these tests measure the skills of a child to survive in the world? No way can a test measure respect, kindness, compassion, and support. And yet, look at the victims impacted by Katrina...what do they need? What do they really need? Society places lots of demands on educators, lots of accountability, lots of PUSH for the better test scores especially because it can directly effect funding. Educators are exhausted with the expectations and demands of politicians, parents, children, and society. Most try to give our students what they REALLY need on a daily basis. But what is the price of being an educator? We as a society need to realize the needs of our teachers just as they are expected to realize the needs of our children, just as we expect the government to realize the needs of its people. What are we doing to support educators in supporting our children? The time is now. The needs are great.

Steve

As an educator for over 20 years, one thing has always puzzled me. Many teachers say they can't do what's right for kids because of mandates and rules, and they let their fear of I'm not sure what keep them from giving their students what they believe/know is best.

The kiddos displaced by Katrina, as well as all the other kiddos in our schools, need to know that they matter - only then can they really begin to learn and become the healthy, well-adjusted, productive adults we want them to be. If mandates constrain our ability to care and connect, ignore them and do what's right.

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