And immediatetly after that rant, this neat little project came down my feed: TWEE-Q - a test to see how equal your retweets are of men and women. Disquietingly, even though I think I probably follow more women than men, and believed I interacted more with women, apparently ‘@rhube retweeted 69% men and 31% women.’
It’s worth all of us being aware of the disparities in ourselves. Awareness of a problem is the first step to change.
I also think I follow more women than men, and I *definitely* feel as though I interact more with the women on my feed.
I put my handle in with a heavy heart, sensing that I was (no doubt) in for a rude shock. Surprisingly, it was more balanced than I expected, although considering how I *feel* as though I interact with women a lot more, I still need to be aware of how skewed my perception can be: “@mygoditsraining retweeted 46% men and 54% women”
BEST. ENDORSMENT. EVER.
Well let me tell you, it was quite the pragmatic purchase. It has endless uses in my morning routine.
Such as making the bed:
Getting things off high shelves:
Reaching the remote when it’s too far away:
And assisting me when I ran out of toilet paper:
I don’t know how I survived life without it.
Since the 1980s, the main driver of Finnish education policy has been the idea that every child should have exactly the same opportunity to learn, regardless of family background, income, or geographic location. Education has been seen first and foremost not as a way to produce star performers, but as an instrument to even out social inequality.
In the Finnish view, as Sahlberg describes it, this means that schools should be healthy, safe environments for children. This starts with the basics. Finland offers all pupils free school meals, easy access to health care, psychological counseling, and individualized student guidance.
In fact, since academic excellence wasn’t a particular priority on the Finnish to-do list, when Finland’s students scored so high on the first PISA survey in 2001, many Finns thought the results must be a mistake. But subsequent PISA tests confirmed that Finland — unlike, say, very similar countries such as Norway — was producing academic excellence through its particular policy focus on equity.
That this point is almost always ignored or brushed aside in the U.S. seems especially poignant at the moment, after the financial crisis and Occupy Wall Street movement have brought the problems of inequality in America into such sharp focus. The chasm between those who can afford $35,000 in tuition per child per year — or even just the price of a house in a good public school district — and the other “99 percent” is painfully plain to see.” —
I’ve mentioned how I’d like to move to Scandinavia if I were at all good at languages, right? I think I’ve settled on an unlikely-to-actually-happen dream country.
The longer I teach in the UK, the more upset I find myself. There is an initiative called Every Child Matters which presents the same idea - that all children, regardless of background, have the right to a safe and healthy environment. However, the execution and spirit of the initiative are poor-to-non existent.
The single most important factor in UK education right now is the percentage of pupils achieving 5 or more GCSEs (or equivalents) in the A*-C range. When confronted individually on this, teachers, heads, senior leadership, union leaders and representatives, and politicians will deny it *flat*. They will tell you to your face that the child is the most important thing. That every child matters.
Nevertheless, the pressure on teachers is to hit targets.
For obvious reasons, the story I’m about to share is anecdotal and very vague, but just after I qualified, I came very, very close to throwing the towel in when I was challenged about a student’s progress in my class. The student was on a coursework-based qualification, which gives an equivalent grade to the GCSE based on independent work. Essentially, there is no exam - the work they do in the class is handed in instead.
However, this student had profound learning difficulties, and struggled with basic literacy and maths to the point that I had given up trying to teach the coursework and instead was focusing on those essential tools. Getting the student’s name and date down every day was one target, but we were making good progress.
I was confronted with a spreadsheet showing a list of green boxes (pass rates >99%) and one red (pass rates <99%) - my subject. I was asked very pointedly - why wasn’t this student passing in my subject?
I turned the question back on them. Why is this student passing English when basic writing is a struggle? Why is the student passing Maths when said student cannot even grasp the use of a calculator?
Long story short, they were doing the work for the student.
I ended up at another school, but later heard that the student left with the equivalent of 5 GCSEs, all grade C. My old boss still thinks that the school did a fantastic job and that there is nothing wrong with that outcome. Can’t write, can’t do sums, can barely function socially because all they know is that someone will do it for them eventually - but still! 5 GCSEs! Apparently this is how we do right by children in this country.