Boredom is good for you!

When I raised my two children (back in the dark ages!), how often did I say to them, “That’s good. Boredom is good for you.” Obviously in response to a complaint, “Mommy, I’m bored.”  They were unhappy with that but I had a good sense about it. Boredom is good for you!

Little did I know that I was ahead of the brain research on this matter!  I was gratified to read this report from Great Britain on boredom’s contribution to creativity.

Here’s a piece in The Atlantic on bringing back ability grouping that, I believe, is related to inclusion. The non-tracking idea was also based on ideology, notions of ‘equality,’  not research, as the inclusion movement seems to be based on rights.

 The author writes….
“Unfortunately the efforts and philosophies of otherwise well-meaning individuals have eliminated the achievement gap by eliminating achievement!” EEK.

In case you missed this op ed–I found it very thought provoking, especially after reading the many comments it garnered.

One question for me is whether bullying–no matter how it is defined, broadly or narrowly–is a problem that Congress or state legislatures can solve. Think about that. More layers for schools to deal with –with questionable effectiveness–and, of course, less time for teaching and learning. Just think of the hours spent on compliance training–teaching educators how to fill out forms and comply with pages and pages of new rules. Is this really the best way to help children? Alas, we are not even asking this question?

I’d rather see articles like this one–and the many heartfelt comments–in the public square, not legislative halls–at least not until we agree on definitions and ‘best practices.’ We are a long way from all of that. Let us as a people come to consensus about what we will tolerate and what we will not.  And what works. Then, perhaps, let’s take it to our legislators.

First, let’s do some homework. I applaud this piece as a conversation-starter.

Many states are looking at paperwork reduction–teachers and administrators are inundated with requirements. In special education alone, back in 2002, there were 814 monitoring requirements for states and districts. It’s gotten worse. We are certainly losing the so called ‘paperwork reduction efforts (PRE).’  I applaud efforts to reduce paperwork and bureaucratic requirements.

But, I want to be sure that in our efforts, we stay focused on the big purpose,  lest we lose track (MT4TO).  It’s not just about paper reduction, its about the effect of all that paper on reducing time for teaching and learning.  And, unfortunately, on teachers leaving the field.

It’s really important that people ‘get’ the purpose/mission–otherwise I am concerned that we will get bogged down on various ‘rights’ and so-called ‘accountability’ mandates that end up actually limiting time for teaching and learning.  Often, we count the wrong or irrelevant things.  For example, in special ed, we count the number of days before an evaluation, but not the number of minutes for actual class instruction–time on task. As we know much of what goes for accountability these days is just paper counting, not aimed at improving teaching and learning (In fact, much of current ‘accountability’  doesn’t even deal with MT4TO).
And I sure hope we can bring back flexibility in special education for the vast majority of parents and schools that are doing well together and don’t need all of those regulations. As we had for a brief moment in time (2 years) in Massachusetts with  Procedures Lite. Of course, we have learned from its ending and would, in the future, structure it differently without waivers and rename it for what it is–an agreement.

Onward and upward,

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