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[Susan notes: Here's a very good summary of what today's public school students are missing.]

Submitted to Oregonian but not published
02/19/2014

To the editor

Joanne Yatvin's description of how Meaningful work keeps students in school, (Feb. 18) includes small class sizes, sports teams that allowed all comers to join and play, teacher collaboration with time to meet during the school day, plays and musical events that included all interested students, emphasis on building classroom community, and school wide projects. Yatvin notes that "we devoted our thinking, actions and resources toward making our school a place where students wanted to be every day and be successful."



This is not what is happening in schools today. Class size is increasing, sports is only for the select, talented few, teachers have little time to collaborate, plays, musical events, and projects have been crowded out in favor of test preparation, and competition has replaced community.



Instead of making school a place students want to be every day, the standards and tests that dominate school today force compliance.





Sources:

Increase in class size: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/07/education/07classrooms.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Less planning time: http://blog.readinga-z.com/bobs_blog/2009/02/us-teachers-have-less-time-for-planning.html; Edenfield, B. 2013. Teacher Perceptions of the Impact of Reduced School Budgets on Their Ability to Meet Instructional Needs of Their Students. Doctoral Dissertation, Georgia Southern University.

Decline in plays, music: Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools: 1999-2000 and 2009-10. National Center for Educational Statistics

Stephen Krashen


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