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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Milo goes to KIndergarten; we need to fix this fast

Milo started Kindergarten last week. As it happens I was in Brooklyn this week, so I asked Milo if he liked school. He said he did. I asked him what he liked about it. He said he liked recess. I asked him if there was anything else he liked. He said, “yes, he liked lunch.” Anything else? “Snack time.” Anything else? “Choice time” (apparently you can do whatever you want then. At this point his mother said “what about science?” (His class has been learning science words or something like that.) He said “no, that was boring.”

So it took one week for Milo to learn to say the most common word used to describe school by students. (This tidbit of information I owe to my friend Steve Wyckoff, former superintendent of schools in Wichita, Kansas and now an education reformer.)

Milo had a homework assignment. His mother called to ask me what to do about it, because he was already refusing to do it. He was to circle all the “t’s” in some document. Since MIlo can already read (and write in his own special spelling) he also found this assignment boring. I told her to explain to the teacher that Milo wasn’t going to do things that seemed irrelevant for him to do.

All of this made me start to invest more in our Alternative Learning Place idea, opening in Park Slope, Brooklyn, in September 2011. If Milo has to endure the New York City Public Schools for more than this year of Kindergarten, I am sure that we all will be driven to drink


mcheng said...

Thanks for the post. Here's a thought: If we're too steeped in policy and tradition to make any radical changes, if we're too invested into our existing systems to be indifferent to mediocre returns (at best), if we're too proud and arrogant to be open to a solution to a problem most don't see exist, why not widen the net to countries where education "reform" would be: 1) much more appreciated, 2) much more felt, and 3) have an impact into the very cultures of developing societies around the world. How about partnering with developing counties with an Alternative Learning Place idea i.e. through

Therese Longo said...

What method(s) were used to teach Milo to read?

Roger Schank said...

Milo learned to read, at least in part, by using which is a site that I built to little kids to read.