Without telling me, she went over to the school and began a weeks-long process of behind-the-scenes lobbying, which led to me and a couple of other high-performing kids getting quietly pulled out of class, given a battery of tests, and about a week later reinstalled permanently into a bright and orderly third-grade class upstairs, governed by a smiling, no-nonsense teacher who knew her stuff.
It was a small but life-changing move. I didn’t stop to ask myself then what would happen to all the kids who’d been left in the basement with the teacher who couldn’t teach. Now that I’m an adult, I realize that kids know at a very young age when they’re being devalued, when adults aren’t invested enough to help them learn. Their anger over it can manifest itself as unruliness. It’s hardly their fault. They aren’t “bad kids.” They’re just trying to survive bad circumstances.
The Constitutionally independent Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, long lead by our new Governor, Tony Evers, has granted thousands of elementary reading teacher content knowledge waivers .
Wisconsin elementary teachers are, by law, required to pass the Foundations of Reading exam. This requirement – our only teacher content knowledge imperative – is based on Massachusetts’ highly successful MTEL initiative.
An emphasis on adult employment.