Monday, May 27, 2013

Rhonda Bliss (Jeff Bliss's mother) shares her thoughts

Editor's note: This post is from Rhonda Bliss. The mother of Jeff Bliss known for telling his teacher how he felt about packet-driven learning. I share this post with the permission of Rhonda Bliss. The original post can be found on Jeff Bliss's Facebook page here.

By Rhonda Bliss

It has been 2 weeks and Jeff's words continue to resound throughout the educational community of the world. It was and always will be about the poor quality educational system. I have read extensively since the video went viral: posts both positive and negative, new web sites, and have received the most encouraging words from people throughout the country. My own students wanted to know about the video. The opportunity became a teaching moment which as they soon discovered was what I had done in the classroom since 2006 when I took my current job position. Passionate, face to face teaching, creative ways to engage kids and help them remember what they had learned: I was touching their hearts and they knew exactly why Jeff was so passionate about his education. 

I read Dr. Ray's blog today, great twist on the happenings of that fateful day but how much has really changed. Great teachers will never be able to be great in the classroom until those who make decisions decide school should be about 
1. Mastery of core knowledge upon which the student can build. 
2. Teaching students to think and reason through a process, and 
3. Demanding nothing less than the finest of each student (not the standard state mandated tests). Students' worth should not hang on the balance of a standardized test but upon their ability to become informed citizens who take an active roll in cultivating the culture, heritage , and values that made These Unites States the exceptional nation it is. 

I have pondered how it is we have strayed so far from our foundational roots. I considered the Federalist Papers. Remember those. I hope history teachers do! They were not written for the elitist but for the common people of this new country to decide for themselves what was best. We should be shocked to know a farmer in the late 1780's had a greater ability to understand what was at stake than our highly educated students of today. We should be ashamed of abandoning our foundational principles for a factory model of education. The father of our country never attended school. He was mentored by his father, half-brother Lawrence, Lord Fairfax and his family, and events that groomed him for the challenges he and a new nation would face.

Those who step beyond the everyday happenings and demand something greater will always be considered different, however they will also be remembered. The courage of Jeff to stand for excellence, truth, justice, and the rights of students everywhere to have an excellent teacher will not soon be forgotten.

Walk a mile in the shoes of our students. Would you like the experience or would you demand more?

Good teachers know how to touch the hearts of students. Let us show you how it is done. It is nothing new but it has been forgotten because someplace in time someone thought it was broken and needed fixing. Now it really does need fixing but most who know how to do it have retired or are very close to retiring. 

Ponder that for a moment!!!!!

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