A school superintendent lambasts teachers

Reply Sun 4 Sep, 2011 04:02 pm
for not speaking out against standardized testing

We’ve done it now. Eleven years we had to educate the public, to register our protests and do everything in our power to warn people what was coming, and we blew it. We knew the moment would eventually come and we hem-hawed, looked at the ground, kicked at the dirt with our shoes and failed to look the opposition in the eye and face them down. All of us saw this coming, but very few took a stand and now we – and our students – are paying the price. We could have been prophets but failed the test.

We allowed the proponents of NCLB to control the discussion from the beginning. They wrote the language, sent out the media notices and explanations, wrote the definitions of AYP, Highly Qualified and leaned heavily on the fact that none of us would dare protest anything to do with a name that implies we would be providing a high quality education for every single child in America. They were right. We chose not to speak out, not to fight against a system we knew from the beginning would set us all up for failure, and instead, in our best Dudley DoRight impersonations we set about to change the way we taught and measured and tested and graded and thought.


...Our kids were the ones whose education was stilted by our submission to the belief that one test could effectively distill and determine the depth and extent of an entire year of a child’s education. They are the ones whose time was wasted by “academic pep rallies” and “test prep” and by the subtle and insidious ways we told them the test was “important” and put pressure on them to “do their best because our school is counting on you.”

They were the ones that did without art and music and chorus and drama because we increased the amount of time they spent in ELA and Math. They were the ones that had time in their Social Studies and Science classes cut back more and more so schools could focus on the “really important areas” of ELA and Math....


I struggled with the rest of you as to why NCLB would go to such great lengths to make public education appear to be such a failure, to set up a system that would guarantee failure for practically every public school as we advanced toward that magical 100 percent level and provide no tangible rewards for success and such punitive actions for not meeting arbitrary goals. On top of all of that, I failed to recognize why our nation’s legislators so nimbly avoided even the discussion of reauthorization to change what everyone knew was a failed policy. One day it finally hit me.

They didn’t want to change the policy, because the policy was designed in theory and in fact not to aid education but to create an image of a failed public school system in order to further the implementation of vouchers and the diversion of public education funds to private schools.


Now we are paying the price. AYP is here to stay in one form or another, and the vast majority of our parents and public really believe the propaganda that it actually measures a school’s educational progress. If we try to convince them otherwise we are “making excuses.”

Read his whole letter at: http://blogs.ajc.com/get-schooled-blog/2011/08/31/no-child-left-behind-a-conspiracy-against-public-education-that-too-few-called-out/?cxntfid=blogs_get_schooled_blog

I agree with every word he wrote. How about you?
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Reply Sun 4 Sep, 2011 08:17 pm
I'm so surprised that more people don't find his position provocative.

Reply Sun 4 Sep, 2011 08:40 pm
I didn't read the link, but I agree with everything he wrote that you posted above.

I don't know why people don't see through this stuff.
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Reply Sun 4 Sep, 2011 09:43 pm
People, including many parents of children in school, want to be reassured that there is a way to measure in gross terms the quality of the schools and education being provided by their tax dollars. Those people--once again, including many parents of children in schools--don't want to be obliged to think about difficult things, to confront the reality that all students are not from a standardized cookie cutter, and that there is not and never can be a one-size fits all educational program. They certainly don't want to face the reality that surrender to the concept means abandoning such a huge proportion of school-aged children, most "under-performers," but a significant number of very bright children, in order to chase the superficial appearance of educational excellence.

No child left behind enshrines leaving behind more children than ever.

I'll get off my soap box now--this really pisses me off, and i don't react well to this worst, most long-term harm of Baby Bush's presidency.
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Reply Mon 5 Sep, 2011 06:04 am
I'm surprised more people don't see through it too.

I once worked for a company that became obsessed about measuring things.

This interaction with a client should take this long.
That transaction should take this much time.
It should result in a sale that averages this amount.

EVERYTHING started getting measured. Keeping your job rested on being able to perform X in Y amount of time and getting Z as a result. It was a very "perfect world" system that didn't take into account that some clients wanted to chat, that sometimes things break, and that sometimes people get sick and don't show up for work.

Customer satisfaction started falling as the measurements sucked the soul out of the business.

Measurement has it's place but it can't be used to indicate the health of a system.
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Reply Mon 5 Sep, 2011 02:04 pm
Imagine my surprise, Boomer, when people don't complain that their kids are being taught the same old nonsense about English that they were taught.

I can understand a teacher's reluctance to speak out. They'd get stuck with ensuring the "success" of any new program, and went it went all to ratshit, as defined by [you guess who] guess who the fingers would swing to.
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