Getting ready to head out the door this morning when an observation made by one of the morning anchors on a national news station caught my interest; she suggested that in the story on Georgia teachers having a “pizza party” while changing testing data, that they should have used that time to “teach the children” implying that the time used for the party would have increase the students’ scores. It always amazes me how non–educators are so quick to ridicule and belittle teachers and the educational establishment, yet are often the people never seen in school by their children’s teachers, and never accept their responsibility in this process.
I am in no way defending the antics of these bozos in Georgia who, pressured by the focus on testing and their administration, falsified testing documentation. They were spineless: They knew the truth yet ignored it. Get rid of them and move on – quickly.
This casual reference to education, as if this 45 minutes worth of pizza time could magically change children, is just ignorant. Ignorant yet prevalent. It is like when meeting a person for the first time and they hear I served in the Air Force for 27 years they’ll ask, “My cousin Ed was in the military, you must know him” — the space required to fill that person’s brain with information enough so that they could have either rephrased the question or dropped it, is just infinite. Some things you have to live to understand.
Teaching is an art form; a delicate balance between serving up the right amount of data balanced with an understanding of the psychology and maturation of the students in their class. How to work through an item of historical significance is vastly different in the class with 4th grade students and with 8th grade students. Their social maturity, so vastly different, has turned the 4th graders questions about “how?” to the 8th grader’s question “why?”.
So back to the newsroom; I know how difficult it is to be on the air, on live television, where your response to a situation sometimes just blurts out, but this pizza party slap across the face of teachers, is just too insulting to allow it to pass. So to this anchorwoman I say, walk a mile in their shoes before making another absurd observation about the ease of the educational process. Because the process of educating children is much more complex and dynamic than most people ever realize.

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