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APRIL WRITE 2013 – Day 15 – THE THREE R’s

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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.




4 responses »

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Zita Holbourne (c) April 2013


    Figure historical
    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

  4. 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


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