March 24, 2012
Published on Friday, March 23, 2012 by Rethinking Schools
By Ruth Ann Dandrea
Dear 8th Graders,
I didn’t know.
I spent last night perusing the 150-plus pages of grading materials provided by the state in anticipation of reading and evaluating your English Language Arts Exams this morning. I knew the test was pointless—that it has never fulfilled its stated purpose as a predictor of who would succeed and who would fail the English Regents in 11th grade. Any thinking person would’ve ditched it years ago. Instead, rather than simply give a test in 8th grade that doesn’t get kids ready for the test in 11th grade, the state opted to also give a test in 7th grade to get you ready for your 8th-grade test.
But we already knew all of that.
What I learned is that the test is also criminal.
Read more: http://rethinkingschools.org/archive/26_03/26_03_dandrea.shtml
October 31, 2011
By Robert Green
A slightly edited version of this op-ed appeared in the Montreal Gazette April 14, 2011
The English Language Arts (ELA) program has long been considered a ‘core’ academic subject for students in Quebec’s English School Boards. This is for very good reason. Strong literacy skills are recognized as key to improving students’ future employment prospects as well their ability to engage with their world creatively and participate fully in our society’s democratic institutions. The lowering of standards in the ELA program therefore has grave implications not only for individual students but also for society as a whole. Sadly after five years in the teaching profession, I am firmly of the opinion that such a lowering of standards is occurring in Quebec’s English schools and that the Ministry of Education, Leisure and Sports (MELS) is entirely to blame.
Initially the infamous ‘reform’ to Quebec’s curriculum was presented as a move away from the rote learning that had occurred in the past and a move towards a more constructivist methodology that recognizes that learning is a much more active and dynamic process than the simple memorization of facts. When I first heard this as a student at McGill, this was music to my ears; however, upon entering the profession I soon began to lose this enthusiasm.
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