Wednesday, July 29, 2009

We must be doing a lousy job...

After all, in one week this last Spring, the following has crossed my eyes and ears:

  1. Jack Cafferty at CNN lobbed the following on the news: Why have high schoolers made little progress in reading and math since the 70's? Of course on air he ends his question with the fact that unions cannot fire the horrible teachers. Way to paint a great picture, Jack. There are poor professionals in every profession but there are wonderful teachers out there. The system that is broken is not the union, it is the system itself. Perhaps all critical thinking has left our society. If we have been testing all this time and the scores haven't gone up, perhaps it is because of the testing. Really. What matters is not valued anymore (it is tough, it is not easy for students to do, and it is not easy to measure.) What is easy to measure quickly erodes the state of education. A comment from Nick in Orlando says it this way:
    I myself am in high school (grade 10) and honestly I believe it has to do with the state test, in florida we have the FCAT. All year long we spend all this time on learning “fcat material” alot of which is basic math, english, and science. All this money is wasted in fcat prep courses instead of new material, new techniques for teaching, new innovations. Instead my county (orange county district 8. ) settles for money to be spent on paper, paper, paper, for the Fcat. The FCAT is not fundamental to our actual learning, I may be young, but I certainly know when things do not work. And stopping the learning proccesses to sit around all day and work on a test that is easy and always passed, however if it is not passed, teachers, principles, administrators lose there jobs, this is why I believe for at lease florida THE EDUCATION SYSTEM IS BROKEN AND IS IN NEED OF SOME SERIOUS CHANGE. Eliminate state testing, cut programs that dont work, pay teachers more, treat them like the people they should be treated as, good teachers have quit do to under pay and 100 percent county/state control that is not working, at least in florida. If Britney Spears, can make millions a year not singing, not writing music, just being a good looking professional, then teachers should all be as rich as Bill gates, and the bush family. Thats all I have to say on why we have not advanced since the 70s. P.S I am 16 years old and yes I have a very strong opinion on this topic, and maybe you think I am just the everyday juvenile delinquent that hates school and wants to trash it. The truth is I would love to learn, can my country, the country I love and support, please help me out? After all jack, I am your future.
  2. Add to it this wonderful paragraph from Deborah Meier (read the original article) brought to my reader inbox via Weblogg-ed:
    As long as we use test scores as our primary evidence for being poorly educated we reinforce the connection—and the bad teaching to which it leads. If by some course of action we could get everyone’s score the same—even by cheating—I’d be for it, so we could get on to discussing the interactions that matter in classrooms and schools: between “I, Thou, and It.” I’ve spent 45 years trying, unsuccessfully, to shift the discussion to schools as sites for learning. Such a “conversation” might not produce economic miracles, but it would over time connect schooling to the kind of learning that can protect both democracy and our economy. Because that’s where schools are (or are not) powerful.
  3. And the fine mess that education is in via big business written by Clay Burrell over at He looks at reports on lost economic value. Some real reasons to decline from change in tax funding over the years to corporate involvements to what we are really comparing when we look at other countries. I really cannot do the justice that Clay does. Spend some time on his blog.
  4. There are many more but that is enough for today...
What is scary is the emphasis on the results of tests and how they are being used. I am not sure where this is all headed but very much doubt we are on the right path. Longer school days or years, emphasis on comparing the apples and oranges of successive years on tests, standardizing curricula, focus on content that is meaningless without context...

1 comment:

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