The topic of our class today is what outside forces are shaping the US ELA classroom today. We started our semester talking about our own experiences in the classroom and what those experiences, good and bad, tell us about what we think should be happening between teacher and student in a literacy classroom. That is one force that shapes us as educators.
On the other end of things are the forces we have no control over and little say, as classroom teachers. We start today's class with a wide focus on the kinds of things people think about, protest about, legislate about--which sometimes means that people other than educators are making decisions about what happens in the classroom.
I've asked you to read this 1975 article from Newsweek, "Why Johnny Can't Write." If that title seems familiar to you, it is because, since that appearance, the trope of "why Johnny can't" (or Jane or American Students, etc) do whatever (read, write, code, do algebra, etc) has persisted in education.
I would like to use this article to frame our discussions this semester. For that to happen, I think it's important to consider what the article is actually saying: