Elizabeth Treston: This I agree with, 85 percent. School has to be fun. That’s a no-brainer. I loved school when I was a kid. I loved Kindergarten, I loved high school and I loved college. When I teach graduate students, one of the things I do is I give them two sticks, a balloon and a crayon, and I ask them to come up with three lesson plans for all different ages. If a teacher cannot do that, if you cannot come up with a game or a lesson plan with the simplest of tools, how are you going to come up with a lesson plan when you have a $100,000 computer? You can’t, you need the basic skills. And our teachers have that. Sometimes they’re stifled by these New York state standards. We need to take that out, and bring that communication back, so that we can emerge stronger, better and become one of the best districts in Nassau County.
Matthew Adler: I agree with Mr. Lester that each child learns differently, and we have to change our instruction to accommodate each learner. The teacher has to differentiate their instruction to the learner. You can’t try to put the square into the circle. And I also agree that there is too much pressure. But where is the pressure coming from? The teachers shouldn’t be teaching to the exam, they should be teaching to the curriculum. If they teach to the curriculum, the students will do fine on the exams. If you look at the common core standards, and read through them, you’ll find that there’s nothing evil about them. It’s actually a really good shift in education. It’s a change from teaching a mile wide and an inch deep, to teaching an inch wide and a mile deep. Spending more time on fewer topics. Teaching the kids to appreciate no-fiction, not just fiction. Getting them prepared to be problem solvers in the real world and prepare them for those jobs that are not there now, but will be there when they graduate. I actually agree with the new common core standards. I’ve implemented them this year in my classroom. It’s pushed me to be a better teacher. It has engaged my students; they understand more of what I’m teaching to real world applications, not just as dry as before.