Welcome to Day 15 of the April Write 2013: A new era begins
And antipodean greetings once more!
We are almost half way through this year’s April Write and I hope that you, like me, have been enjoying the journey thus far.
The topic for today is “ungulates” … Just kidding!
No, the real topic for today is: “The Three R’s” or: “Reading, writing and arithmetic”.
Please see below for a piece from me on this topic – please feel free to use it as possible inspiration, or use anything else that may pique your interest along these lines.
You may wish to explore education policy in your country; or perhaps the divide between educational attainment of different demographic groups within your neighbourhood, country or further afield. Perhaps exploring the linkage between education and other life outcomes, such as criminality, relative wealth/poverty etc is more your cup of tea. Or the counting of how many leaves of tea are required for a decent cuppa (that’s related to arithmetic, after all…!)…
Best of luck, and I look forward to reading your pieces.
Adam Rowland (C) April 2013
The three Rs
Red demons are screaming and squirming in swirling blackened blood.
Exquisite pleasantry condensed and pumped through my heart.
Want aligns itself with need.
Life’s values seem more appropriate upturned.
The inconceivable drips eloquently from my lips.
Some days I almost convince myself.
The prison walls become thicker … larger … stronger.
Angrier demons force yesterday’s residents out onto the street to fend for themselves.
Inhaling becomes more an unattainable ideal than a regular action.
Soon I’ll have no breath left.
I practise my lessons.
Life’s curse becomes white hot yet so concentrated that others can’t feel it.
It penetrates my cell from above and I am set ablaze.
It is now harder to convince others, so I console myself.
I am only discovered when the warden next comes to torture me.
He finds nothing.
Katie Rendon (C) April 2013
Advisory Notice from the Board of Education:
State wide testing has now replaced
hands on activities, critical thinking and the arts.
Also no longer necessary is learning about the past.
If the past does truly repeat itself, it will create
an opportunity for your child to see it for themselves,
otherwise, what’s the point of forcing children
to remember names and dates?
Social studies is no longer test worth either.
We are not in the business of teaching
children to become economically self-sufficient
and well informed individuals.
There is no need to study Geography.
It’s not like there is a war going on.
The tests will focus only on the following areas:
Reading, ‘riting. And ‘rithmatic.
We don’t have the resources to ensure that your child
has a complete and comprehensive understanding of the material
so written responses have been eliminated.
All your child will need to do in order to pass
Is to be able to find the answers spelled out for them in the text
and bubble in the appropriate box.
We will spend a great deal of time really dumbing down this critical step.
On the mathematics portion of the exam,
your child will be asked to solve simple problems.
Don’t worry, the wrong answers are really wrong
to ensure that the majority of students will be promoted
despite their minimal understanding of the content.
Some of you may be concerned about the difficulty of the word problems.
These fears are unfounded. We assure you that all of the word problems
have been screened to avoid critical thinking
and we have also taken the liberty of making the questions
relatable to the careers we feel they will be suitable for:
Lisa waits on a party of four, their bill is $42.17,
if the table leaves Lisa 15%, will Lisa have enough money for food and rent?
We would also like to assure you concerned parents
that Science has also been removed from the curriculum.
We’ll just let North Korea, Russia and Iran worry about science
( and since we aren’t showing your kids where these countries
are located, explaining the historical significance,
or introducing them to other cultures, they will be too sheltered
to be concerned, too ignorant to offer solutions).
We feel that these changes are important to create citizens
capable of reading instructions and incapable of critical reasoning.
We aren’t teaching the skills necessary to become entrepreneurs,
inventers, artists, activists, journalists, or leaders.
We are teaching them to lower their expectations,
Accept common beliefs and do as they are told.
Zita Holbourne (c) April 2013
TOO BLACK, TOO FEMALE
Black & female
Ms Mary Seacole
She was voted number one
The greatest black Briton
Then the government suggested
That she shouldn’t be included
In school history teachings
Ignoring public feelings
Fifty personalities write a letter
Telling Government they ought to know better
Than to propose her removal from lessons in school
Really Mr Minister! Discrimination’s not cool
Over thirty five thousand signed their name
Generating a rebirth of Ms Mary’s fame
The Education Minister said Mary must go!
But Deputy Prime Minister said ‘No, No, No!’
So started the LibDem versus Tory
Battle regarding Ms Mary’s story
Mary’s in the news every day
Mr Minister there’s just no getting away
You’ve got to admit, there’s something about Mary
A shame that your view’s quite contrary
Sixty politicians sign an Early Day Motion
In recognition of Mary’s love and devotion
Tending wounded soldiers in the Crimea
So Mr Minister you should stop to see her
Through the eyes of all those in opposition
To your racist and sexist curriculum vision
History is mystory, our story, all stories
Not restricted to the lives of Tories
Is our heroine Ms Mary Seacole
Really too black and too female
To engage, inspire and educate
Taking her place amongst the good and great?
To write away HerStory
You’d have to rewrite history
Centuries of which you’d have to erase
Including the Transatlantic slave trade
Return all that was taken during British Empire
Millions of workers for sale and free hire
Colonial Rule would have to be reversed
Each history ‘liesson’ would have to be rehearsed
So Mr Minister let schools teach the truth
To nourish the souls and minds of our youth
Don’t disregard her because of her gender and race
Do the right thing and give Mary Seacole her rightful place
Zita Holbourne, Poet~Artist~Activist, April Write 2013 Day Day 15
Marina Bayley (c) APRIL 2013
Dyslexic exam he had to have a plan
If his hand held true
fingers did not fail to move
lost in small cramps
pen gripped to tight
A mind that runs faster than the pen
he wanted to be finished
1/2 hour to check the page
how this made his heart raise
being held back at every stage
know he could do
burn down the bridge
knock down every wall
were his fears lived
it was now or never
slow and steady
The method to choose
he had to use
show your understanding
forget regurgitation mode
pick out the interconnection
and let them stand bold and hold
no point looking at the new
only that which held true
deep down inside
last minute revision points need to be put aside
if he didn’t know it last week
the thinking was going to be to weak
so when he heard the 4 simple words ‘you can start now’
he put down his head
simple downloaded all that he had gone though
all that he knew
and hope that they was a time to check it though
just a few more words to add to the page
he hears the final call
‘you have 5 minutes left’
then it was over
He could read all that he wrote
but not write all he reads
short term memory, long term plans
he could do no more, it was to late
he would just have to wait