Disturbing Letter from a Teacher

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I was disturbed by a letter from a teacher that was posted on our Facebook site about a week ago. I'm wondering what your reactions are. Here it is:

"I have a collection of your plays and over the years presented a number of them with my second graders including Red Riding Hood and The Garden Show.

"It has been years since we have been provided the time to invest in the arts. Yes, our standardized scores are higher. However, it is hard to believe that the results are worth having when my 4th graders start the year saying in unison that they 'hate language arts.'

[Editorial note: We have much anecdotal evidence suggesting that our plays actually INCREASE test scores.]

"I am happy that at least in some school districts children have an opportunity to learn while singing, dancing and performing. Thank you for some wonderful memories.

"We have over 95 percent English Language learners and your plays gave my kids confidence and helped boost their self esteem. Over the years kids have returned, some are in college, and told me that these plays were their favorite part of elementary school."

I was horrified. Not that kids aren't doing our plays---big deal. But all the teachers are allowed to do is prepare for standardized tests.

This isn't the kind of education that I want to see.

So my question for you all: is this an isolated case, or do you struggle to include the "interesting stuff" in your classroom?

Whether it's some songs, a simulation, a play, science experiments, are you allowed to teach in a way that actually reaches children?

Read the responses to this post here.

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