"What I heard was that Stu Silberman and the director of high schools were doing a walk-through at Bryan Station and saw a social sciences class where students were using crayons and markers to make a poster representing something they were learning about...They (Silberman's group) thought the learning level was too low and they wanted to get rid of it, because they thought it would take away from us achieving higher test scores."
- William Waun, Bryan Station High School Senior
A controversy over crayons broke out at some Fayette County high schools last week, but Superintendent Stu Silberman says it's really a misunderstanding.
It began midweek at Bryan Station High School, where a student said dozens of his classmates began wearing homemade necklaces made from crayons tied on a length of cord or ribbon. Students said they donned the neckwear to show their displeasure over an alleged directive from Silberman to "ban" crayons from high school classrooms.
Although Bryan Station officials say fewer than 10 students were wearing the crayon necklaces, some students at Henry Clay High School said they joined in by Friday and were wearing crayons around their necks too.
Silberman said he did tell Bryan Station administrators during a meeting about two weeks ago that he did not want students to be coloring in classrooms.
Silberman said it all apparently started after he discussed academic achievement with the school's leadership team and department heads.
"This really wasn't about crayons, it was about rigor," he said in an interview.
Silberman said he told the group that classroom time should be used as productively as possible, which should not include students spending time coloring graphs, posters or similar types of assignments...
As to clarify what exactly this ban consists of, it is rather difficult considering that Stu often changes his mind and takes things back. As of now it is a ban solely on crayons, saying that crayons are the "low-level" learning, whereas markers and colored pencils are not. This seems to be a scapegoat for Bryan Station's low test scores, as the other High Schools in Fayette county have not yet recieved this ban. If it was truly "low-level" shouldn't all the High Schools recieve the same ban?
You *must* be kidding. Drawing is integral to my thought process and I constantly mind-map my ideas visually using paper, colored markers and similar items. Yes, this despite the fact that I live online and have access to 100s of drawing tools on my PC. Abstract concepts can be brought to life for some students via a quick sketch, and coloring is a meditative activity that relieves stress and gets people ready for mental challenge.
as an educational psychologist i am astounded to see this. For what it's worth, I'll be sharing this facebook page and the details of the story with my department at the University of Georgia as an example of a very sad misuse of educational research. good luck to you all, and let me know if there's anything I can do to help!And Ellen Neuville wrote,
I will stand in defense of "using crayons to do your math homework" even if others won't. As a kinesthetic learner I learn best when I have hands on interaction with the content, so for me seeing a graph is not nearly as effective as actually drawing a graph myself. I'm not a high school student, I don't even have kids who are in Fayette County public schools anymore, but I still want to support making valuable changes to the curriculum. Stu Silberman would be better served looking into the prevalence of teachers showing commercial movies to fill class time which have absolutely nothing to do with the course work. My step-daughter was one of the "lucky" students who were treated to a viewing of The Forty Year Old Virgin in a Spanish class a few years ago (Tates Creek H.S.) and I think that's a much more serious detriment to the process of learning than coloring is. But apparently our school board isn't willing/able to take on the real issues facing our students.