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Monday, March 31, 2008


When I was a kid, my teachers were not, generally, of soft-spoken temperament. John Eaton Elementary, while nestled in one of DCs tonier areas and enjoying all the benefits that entailed, was still a DC school and more importantly, still an ELEMENTARY school. Kids are loud, there's noise outside, and the building creaks. Teachers had many different ways to rise above the din of imprisoned childhood - they would shout, bang on desks, whistle, or, in one case, glare at the front row so loudly that we would all cover our ears and close our eyes in terror.

That was back in the old days. Now, teachers have infrared microphones. Does this strike anyone else as a bit ... ridiculous? If there's any population in the universe with an instinctive understanding of escalation-of-conflict, it's second-graders. And handing out the mic to the kids so their questions and answers can be heard? Awesome, yeah, but I also have met a few second-graders, and the only ones who need a mic to be heard (even in an overcrowded DCPS classroom) are the dead ones. Plus, should we really be encouraging kids to try and be like rock stars?

Don't get me wrong: I'm all for kids being able to hear and be heard better in school. This just strikes me as a good way to, ahem, amplify the problems in DCPS, as opposed to actually addressing them (smaller classes, HVAC systems that work, etc.).

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