Public Education in America - in the best of hands

From The Sacramento Bee:

Burbank High School teacher’s Shakespeare aversion draws national attention
Most high school English teachers adore William Shakespeare’s works. Dana Dusbiber does not.

In an essay published this month on a Washington Post education blog, the Luther Burbank High School teacher explained she does not want to teach Shakespeare’s works despite his esteemed place in American education because his perspective does not speak well to her ethnically diverse students.

You are not supposed to let the ethnically diverse students play in their own sandboxes. Your job as their teacher is to introduce them to the English language and English and American culture. Bu exposing them to Shakespeare, you are giving them a fantastic insight into how English language has evolved into its present form. Besides that, the guy could tell amazing stories.

A bit more:

“High school teachers are supposed to love Shakespeare, and I don’t, so I said I didn’t,” Dusbiber said. “I think the reliance on Shakespeare is something I find odd.”

After 25 years teaching in Sacramento, including the last 13 at Luther Burbank High School, she said she has replaced the Bard’s plays in her classroom with works by nonwhite authors. Dusbiber, who is white, said many of her students come from different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds than her own.

This is not about you - this is about your obligation to your students to give them the tools they need to make their lives better. I don't care which authors you prefer over W.S. - again, this is not about you.

Now here is how you do it:

A few miles away at Sacramento New Technology High School, Christine Baker, who teaches 11th- and 12th-grade English, modernizes his works and creates interactive lessons for her students. Four out of five students at the south Sacramento campus are nonwhites.

Baker admitted the old style of writing can be tedious when read as a book instead of a play. But she doesn’t believe it should be removed from the high school curriculum.

“I think that’s completely preposterous,” Baker said of Dusbiber’s view.

Baker studied ways to modernize Shakespeare at the UC Davis Mondavi Center’s Globe Education Academy in 2013, and she asked her students to act out the prologue to “Romeo and Juliet” before digging into the text on their own.

“They get the feeling of fighting families, of young love,” she said. “They might make fun of it at first, but then I’ll remind them that they’re doing the same things in the hallways and they’re like, ‘Oh yeah.’”

Once the kids are able to see that there is a great story there, they will become interested and will start reading it on their own. They will learn the language, they will learn the story and they will absorb the culture. This process is called Education - something that seems to have escaped Ms. Dusbiber's attention.

I am reminded again of this graph:

cato_education.jpg

From here

From Mr. Shakespeare himself: A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on June 21, 2015 1:25 PM.

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