by Robert Pondiscio
March 9th, 2008
Wander on over to Joanne Jacobs and Dangerously Irrelevant for one of the more interesting and emotional discussions about life in the classroom you’re likely to read. It started when DI last week posted a collection of You Tube student-filmed videos of teachers losing their cool over classroom disruptions. Joanne blogged about it this weekend and both sites are now crackling with debate. Is it the teacher’s fault? The students? The parents? Is video taping student activism or turning provocation into a sport for entertainment.
Watch the videos and read the posts, which feel like nothing less than a contemporary education rorschach test.
by Guest Blogger
March 9th, 2008
By TM Willemse
Michael Hawks (not his real name) has wanted to become a firefighter all of his life. After years of involvement with the junior version of the local fire brigade, it was time for him to take the classes he would need as a firefighter. But at 16 years of age, his high school was not willing to allow him to take the courses at the local community college. So he left the public high school and enrolled in a private school that would. This June, at 18 years of age, he will turn out as a firefighter, on his way to becoming a paramedic.
Cory Page (also not his real name) is a child actor enrolled in the private school. He does commercials and background work while also attending the same community college. Every semester the private school vouches for his attendance, enabling him to pursue both career and classes.
The students cited above attend what is known in homeschooling parlance as an “umbrella,” which vouches for their attendance in a private school while allowing them to pursue a course of study that serves their needs. The school is building a close relationship through a “bridge” program with the community college. The college provides diagnostic testing that goes beyond the state exit exam, proficiency support (remedial classes), talent and interest mentoring, and dozens of career certificates besides the A. S. and A. A. degrees. Teenagers who have lost faith in the school system attend a school that considers them to be the client of a service provider, one that can turn a once- compulsory attendee into an active educational consumer.
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