"Doing School"

"Doing School"

How We Are Creating A Generation of Stressed Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students

eBook - 2001
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Denise Pope, veteran teacher and curriculum expert, follows five motivated and successful students through a school year, closely shadowing them and engaging them in lengthy reflections on their school experiences. What emerges is a double-sided picture of school success. On the one hand, these students work hard in school, participate in extracurricular activities, serve their communities, earn awards and honors, and appear to uphold school values. But on the other hand, they feel that in order to get ahead they must compromise their values and manipulate the system by scheming, lying, and cheating. In short, they "do school"--That is, they are not really engaged with learning nor can they commit to such values as integrity and community. The words and actions of these five students-- two boys and three girls from diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds-- underscore the frustrations of being caught in a "grade trap" that pins future success to high grades and test scores. Their stories raise critical questions that are too important for parents, educators, and community leaders to ignore. Are schools cultivating an environment that promotes intellectual curiosity, cooperation, and integrity? Or are they fostering anxiety, deception, and hostility? Do today's schools inadvertently impede the very values they claim to embrace? Is the "success" that current assessment practices measure the kind of success we want for our children?
Publisher: New Haven, CT : Yale University Press, 2001
ISBN: 9780300130584
0300130589
Branch Call Number: OVERDRIVE
Characteristics: xvii, 212 p. ; 23 cm
Additional Contributors: Overdrive, Inc

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bookrazy
Jun 27, 2012

Pope chronicles the lives of 5 "successful" high school students at Faircrest High School (actually a pseudonym for our very own Los Altos High) for one semester of sophomore or junior year. She reveals that, even in our high achieving schools, we are not giving kids a good education. We are not teaching them to think deeply or be excited about or invested in learning. Instead, the focus on material success via grade point average creates an intense pressure to perform, and this teaches kids to get the grade at all costs, even if it means cheating or faking it. It was not a shocking read because I experienced exactly that when I attended LAHS a few years ago, but it was very distressing and makes me want to advocate for change in the way we structure our schools.

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