Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bureaucracy in the way of education

I went into the school (again) to talk to them about English for Eldest for next year.  I have found a good on-line academic English course that provides a good rigorous curriculum.  I was hoping they would let her work on it at school in place of the stupid incredibly basic English the kids here are still doing.

Mostly, she can.  Provisionally.

Two themes came out of the meeting.  One was the astonishing stupidity people can attribute to kids and that they can manifest themselves.  The woman wants Eldest to do all the test partially because she doesn't want the other kids to complain that she is doing something different.  Well, Hello she is!  Do you think that even one of them doesn't know that she is a native English speaker....duh.  How dumb does she think they are????  And if they do complain?  EASY....offer them the option of doing the same two English courses concurrently.  That'd shut 'em up pretty fast, no?

The other, and somewhat more disappointing thing that came out of the meeting is a little convoluted, but also pretty sad.  At the universities they are busy teaching all the student teachers and new teachers these lovely progressive educational ideas.  At the same time the Generalitat (provincial govt) holds the reigns of control so tight it cripples the schools ability to provide quality education for the kids in their care.

The first case of this was last year with the horrific math teacher and the endless round of hopeless substitutes which the school in question was powerless to alter.  An entire grade lost an entire year of math, that'd be about 150 kids with a poorer education because of bureaucratic inertia.

This year...evidence of a system-wide neglect of a large section of the students.  Here's what happens.  There is a program in place, 'atenció de la diversitat'.  You can probably make a good stab at that, attention to diversity.  This is not cultural diversity, but rather educational/skill diversity.  These programs are aimed at kids that are exceptional, either exceptionally troubled with their learning process, be that because of language issues as immigrants, learning problems or whatever....or they are exceptionally gifted, either because they are simply very bright, or like my kid, they happen to have an advantage, for instance being native speakers of a studied language.

Under this program, the school has the theoretical right to design any program they like to provide the child with the learning opportunities that they would best benefit by.  Like everywhere, this would be somewhat dependent on the dedication of the teacher in question (and I have to say that the base-line dedication level of teachers in NA is a different exponential order than here...honestly, the work they don't put in in this country.)  The real problem is, though, that the bureaucracy involved in producing one of these programs, and the fact that the inspector would have to come in and look it over means that the teachers are entirely unwilling to even consider providing this for a kid, or for kids in general.  The kids that are flunking everything get help, it is clear and evident that help is needed, but the bright kids?  How do you prove that they are capable of more unless you give them greater opportunity?

Left to rot or misbehave.

A shame.


Anonymous said...

I guess it all comes down to unwilling teachers who don't care, then... :(

oreneta said...

That pretty much sums it up. Sadly.

J.G. said...

I hate it when the answer includes some version of "No, it's impossible, because it would involve a tiny bit of extra work for me." Frustrating.

oreneta said...

Yup, that pretty much summed it up....