NY Times: “Bring Back Learning for Learning’s Sake”

A letter I wrote to the New York Times is published in today’s Editorials/Letters (4/30/12).  I’ve pasted in my letter below.  To read the other letters, google “Bring Back Learning for Learning’s Sake.”

The beautifully written essay “Teach the Books, Touch the Heart” by Claire Needell Hollander, which inspired me to write the letter, is so worth reading.  Google “Teach the Books, Touch the Heart” and the link to the essay will appear first on the search list or, hopefully, this link will take you directly to the essay


Some of Natalie's beloved books

My Letter to the Editor:

I am beyond saddened that Claire Needell Hollander, a gifted teacher, has to go to work each day and do what she knows does not educate children: prepare them to score higher on tests. She has no choice if she wants to keep her job. But she has bravely joined the resistance movement by telling the truth.

“Real learning,” as Ms. Hollander describes so well, is being stolen from children. A remark our 12-year-old daughter made in sixth grade — “There’s a certain part about getting good at something that involves loving it” — lighted a spark of resistance inside me. I knew that she was right.

We ended up home-schooling for the seventh and eighth grades. This is the way we had the chance to focus on real learning. We also called it thriving, versus surviving. No tests. No homework! Lots of reading. Lots of writing. Lots of conversation. What happened? Our daughter not only loves school, but also is good at lots of things.


  • Grandmama

    All your articles are so interesting and entertaining and educational, all at the same time. I really enjoy the new feature you’ve very recently added to your opening page for ‘Two in the Middle.’ It is so much fun to see a lovely series of photos taken from TITM in a slide show at the opening of
    the site.

    • TwointheMiddle

      Couldn’t be said better: The highest score does go to loving what we do. We’re lucky when we know what that feels like.

  • Grandmama

    Your letter sums up so well what it takes for a learning student to thrive. A place of real learning comes from the teacher not from taking tests or doing homework. It’s built into the day with love. Students and teachers are people and we must remember that.

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