If you didn't already know it, it might tickle you to find out that I bowl on a pretty laid-back bowling league on Monday evenings, called the S.I.N. (Service Industry Night) League. The folks I bowl with are almost to a one friendly, caring, compassionate, and often very intelligent individuals. I never cease to be amazed by the warmth and wisdom these people show to and share with others. It's fair to say that S.I.N. League helps me maintain my sanity.
One of my teammates, Kyle, recently took a job working in one of Buncombe County's public schools, as a teachers' aide. He's loving his job, and it's giving him great insight on our nation's educational system. I love that his insight is untempered by educational lingo and unfiltered by official administrative fiats. From him, you get the dirt.
Kyle keeps a blog himself, a collection of biographical blurbs tangentially related to the webcomic he and his wife (also a teammate) write about the exploits of our bowling team (I'm Parker!). While checking the comic (updated every Monday!) this afternoon, I found the following interesting comment on Kyle's blog:
One somewhat shocking thing I learned is that our teachers have been told not to teach science and social studies because they don’t have enough time, and are primarily tested on reading and math. I had noticed that every class I went to was either doing reading or math, but I thought it was simply because I was there early in the day and maybe they did other things in the afternoon, but no! There is so much pressure from the state and county governments to preform better in math and reading that they simply skip over other subjects.
Rilly? I'd be interested in learning more about this phenomenon...I mean, I know that a good deal of emphasis is being placed on certain subjects because of high-stakes testing and other accountability measures, but this seems extreme. Are teachers (at least in the 2nd/3rd grade level where Kyle helps out) being discouraged from teaching science and social studies at all, or are they simply being told to put emphasis on reading and math? And to what extent is this discouragement/recommendation official? Is it an unwritten rule that's clearly understood, or is there a paper trail somewhere?
I'm a bit shocked by this.