Diane\'s Blog

Tom McKinne

Ms. Ravitch,

Perhaps I am jumping the gun here (I have not yet finished your book) but I want you to know that as a teacher, retired, of 34 years I truly appreciate your efforts to get a message out there. Your book is much needed. I taught Earth and Space Science to freshmen at Warwick High School, Lititz PA. I enjoyed nearly every (but not every) day very much.

In my mind perhaps one of the most important things we can help students to experience is the feeling of “Hey, I did that!” For me to experience some of my most academically challenged students showing some of my best students how to light a bunsen burner was a thrill and fun. In an age of testing and teaching for tests it is just those kinds of experiences that have to be forfeited. Larger classes and tighter time schedules just do not allow for the time and patience it takes to allow kids to try, fail, try, and succeed at those kinds of lab experiences. The student who helped light burner, the student who allowed him to help, and I are really the only people who knew what happened in those kinds of incidents and we all benefited. But how do you test any of us for that?

So, thanks, Ms. Ravitch, for getting the message out there that there is a heck of a lot more to education than testing and much more than most people will ever realize.

Sincerely,
Tom McKinne