Honestly, I never dreamed it would be a controversial post. One of my friends had posted a listing of all the public schools she had attended with the caption, “Proud member of #ProductOfPublicSchools.” So I did the same, from O’Dea Elementary School in Fort Collins, Colorado through my four schools in Amherst, Massachusetts: Marks Meadow Elementary School, Amherst Regional Junior High School, Amherst Regional High School, and the University of Massachusetts, where I got my M.A.T. in French (For the record, I got my A.B. in French from Middlebury College, which I also loved.) Not two minutes later, I got the response back from another ARHS graduate: “So what?”
It was the first day of my 2009-2010 Humanities 7 class and I was explaining how the course works—how students design all the units around their own questions, with opportunities for both group work and individual research. One student raised her hand and said, "This sounds great and all, but how will it help us prepare for the MCAS?" "Oh," I said. "We're an independent school. We don't have to do the MCAS." The students burst into applause, shouting and cheering and clapping and raising their fists in celebration as one student from out of state asked quietly, "What's the MCAS?"
When the appointment of Dr. John Chubb to the presidency of the National Association of Independent Schools was first announced, there was a certain level of concern expressed by a number of people over his views on education. To his very great credit, Dr. Chubb responded quickly and graciously, even talking extensively over the phone with Kim Sivick, now the Director of Professional and Organizational Development for the Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools, and with me as well. Kim and I both blogged about our respective conversations, she here and I here. Among other encouraging points Dr. Chubb then made was the desire to determine and facilitate policy directions desired by the membership.