I’ve been doing Big Brothers Big Sisters for several months now. My “little” is in 7th grade; she’s told me some things about her school that make my hair stand on end. I won’t even get into the social aspects (like having a gun pointed in her face by a member of the SWAT team). But let me just say that the more I learn about the Seattle public school system, the more appalled I become.
Take this, the 6th grade level expectations for language arts (conveniently posted for ridicule at the Seattle Public Schools web site):
In sixth grade, students are aware of the author’s craft. They are able to adjust their purpose, pace and strategies according to difficulty and/or type of text. Students continue to reflect on their skills and adjust their comprehension and vocabulary strategies to become better readers. Students discuss, reflect, and respond, using evidence from text, to a wide variety of literary genres and informational text. Students read for pleasure and choose books based on personal preference, topic, genre, theme, or author.
Good lord. And the person who wrote this convoluted, awkward piece of crap is tasked with helping kids become better readers and writers?
Hoo boy. The blather continues for 7th grade:
In seventh grade, students are aware of their responsibilty as readers. They continue to reflect on their skills and adjust their comprehension and vocabulary strategies. Students refine their understanding of the author’s craft. Oral and written responses analyze and/or sythesize information from multiple sources to deepen understanding of the content. Studnets [sic] read for pleasure and choose books based on personal preference.
Can someone please tell me what a student’s responsibility as a reader is? And what, precisely, does “reflecting on skills” mean? Because I for one have never put down a book mid-chapter and said, “Let me reflect upon my reading skills now and adjust my comprehension strategies.”
And really, what are comprehension strategies anyway?