Emily Berman: Flexibility benefits students

It was really interesting to hear about a turnaround school.  I was fascinated at how efficiently run it seemed.  I sort of looked upon that part of Connecticut’s education reform bill as a negative part, but it seems to be a good idea.  Chris Kafoglis gave a really well rounded presentation on how teachers are feeling about education reform currently in Connecticut.  He had a realistic view of the situation and was obviously very well informed.  I think at the end of it all I realized that poverty and education and success are intertwined so tightly in our country that we can’t focus on improving one without dealing with the other.  Teaching seems to encompass so much more than just being in a classroom transferring information.   Students need emotional support as well, and even though that is not what one typically thinks about when thinking about schools, I think a strong emotional support system is vital for a student’s self-esteem and therefore performance in school.  I also like Kafoglis’ school’s plan to get rid of grades and grade levels.  I can imagine that it will be rather confusing to work everything so that the students still have a proper transcript to send off to colleges, but I think that having grades do not help the majority of students learn; an A does not always say how well you understand the material, it may speak to how well you can regurgitate it for the forty-five minute block you are tested on it.  I also do not think we should be rushing student off to the university- eighteen is still a very young age to decide what you want to do.  I think keeping students in high school for longer if they need it is a great idea.  Overall, I was very impressed with this lecture.

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