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Open Court in PreSchool

A Kindergarten Teacher in The South Bronx Speaks Out

Publication Date: 2003-09-10

This kindergarten teachers asks an important question: why are so many teachers so silent--when they know this is wrong?



Open Court in Preschool and "Everyday Math" in NYC public schools i.e. EVERY public school in EVERY Kindergarten class in the entire city--mandatory adherence to pacing calendars, mandatory homework from basically a coloring book
(workbook), mandatory number lines up to 150 (they paid for them so we need to exhibit them)- who knows how much money spent on plastic manipulatives, etc. etc. etc.

Our kids are doomed and so are our teachers. The plan for any teachers with a brain and a spot of creativity is to drive them OUT. Then
inexperienced, inexpensive Teaching Fellows can come in and do as they are told without
challenging the latest authority in power. It is unbelievable.. I have been teaching for twenty-five years and I have never before experienced such abuse of power. Everything is mandated--no one is allowed to question anything or offer intelligent input.

There is nothing for us teachers to do except put on a show and hope for the best. I have wondered for a long time why teachers are not refusing to do what's clearly inappropriate for their students. What has happened to common
sense?

How can anyone believe that 3 year olds (especially poor 3 year olds) will "catch up" to middle class kids by putting them into a reading program--Open Court or whatever.

These kids need real-life experiences--playing in the outdoors, playing in the indoors, planting gardens, cooking, hearing good old-fashioned stories and just being conversed with and paid attention to. They need to hear beautiful
language spoken in a loving and nurturing environment.

And so do 4 year olds and 5 year olds and 6 year olds and so on.


Susan Kotansky in the South Bronx,
a very frustrated, devoted kindergarten teacher who likes to think for herself. And if the kindergarten police come to get me, I?ll just ask for your support.


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