Archive for June, 2003

Selnnet News, June 2003: Composed by Elizabeth Manning

June 25, 2003


The Evidence
Studies in at least three states have linked participation in service-learning to gains on student achievement tests. The largest of these studies took place in California, where students in more than half of the schools with high-quality service-learning programs showed a moderate to strong gain on achievement tests in language arts and/or reading (Weiler, LaGoy, Crane and Rovner, 1998). A study in Indiana found that service-learning students had higher test scores on the state assessments in grades 3 and 8 in English and mathematics (Civic Literacy Project, 2000). In Michigan, students who participated in service-learning scored higher on state tests in mathematics and reading for comprehension (Billig, 2000).


A Teacher’s Manifesto by Dave Butts

June 10, 2003

I am lamenting the loss of diverse thought and the market place of free thought that once was the School District where I teach. About 15 years ago I was a 5th grade teacher. Most of us in the building belonged to one professional organization or another; PDK, ASCD etc. A common practice was for someone in the building to find a journal article espousing a particular slant on a current topic, e.g. whole language vs. phonics, and make several copies to be placed in the boxes of the other staff. It was great fun! If you disagreed you would find an equally compelling if differing article and in turn place a copy in every box. It caused one to THINK about what one held to as “educational gospel.” If nothing else it caused one to “formulate before you postulate.” Sadly, I fear that these days are gone for now. What I see now is intolerance toward teachers who might express a differing view from the administration/school board particularly with respect to standardized tests, discipline practices, pedagogy, etc. Not only is divergent thought discouraged now it is rather vilified. People have been told that if they “can’t buy in” they should “go to another building.” This seems all very remarkable to me in light of the fact that not too many years ago we believed that one of our primary tasks was to teach students to think and that in turn those thoughts and opinions had validity.