“And it suggests that the angry, worried debate over how to improve the nation’s mediocre education — pitting the teachers’ unions and the advocates of more money for public schools against the champions of school vouchers and standardized tests — is missing the most important part: infants and toddlers.”—Studies Highlight Benefits of Early Education - NYTimes.com
“Standardized achievement tests are a vital tool, but treating test scores the way a corporation might treat sales targets is wrong. Students are not widgets. I totally reject the idea that students from underprivileged neighborhoods cannot learn. Of course they can. But how does it help these students to have their performance on a one-size-fits-all standardized test determine their teachers’ compensation and job security? The clear incentive is for the teacher to focus on test scores rather than actual teaching.”—Eugene Robinson: The racket with standardized test scores - The Washington Post
“In addition to academics, students need to develop a work ethic, communication skills, and the ability to work on a team. The high school curriculum is “traditional and very narrow,” said Mr. Coplin, which particularly hurts low-achieving students who may not be pursuing a four-year degree but need to develop career skills.”—Education Week: Internships Help Students Prepare for Workplace
“But teaching should not be primarily a form of giving back, especially when it means teaching at inner-city and rural school with disproportionate numbers of disadvantaged students. I say that because it implies paternalistic arrogance toward the students being saved. TFA’s two-year commitment underscores this feeling. Instead, teaching should be a professional career choice.”—Teach for America’s Public Relations Machine - Walt Gardner’s Reality Check - Education Week
This is why we always start our classes with a free write and then a time to share. I wonder if sharing the science behind the practice would help my students continue to focus as we move into our second quarter.
And, as we pursue educational reforms, beating up on teachers — who are underpaid, overworked and always blamed — is a distraction from the real problem: We’re being outpaced in producing the employees of the future.
Imagine a day when a group of politicians and philanthropists read in the newspaper that the United States does not have the highest life expectancy in the world. Not only that, we are actually ranked 38th in the world at 78.2, a full four and a half years below the number one country Japan. Outraged, they decide to ‘do something’ about this crisis. Despite knowing little about health and medicine, they become ‘medical reformers.’
“The fact that standards are owned by politicians, administrators, and university faculty, but not by teachers, guarantees that standards are viewed as top-down reform. It redefines their purpose, not as a tool used by teachers to improve education, but as a tool used by everyone else to improve “the system”—to give the illusion of progress, to enforce accountability, and to fix broken teachers. So, is it surprising, then, that standards haven’t worked to improve education itself?”—Education Week: Give the Standards Back to Teachers
“Now, in studies that threaten to shake the foundation of high-stakes test-based accountability, Mr. Stroup and two other researchers said they believe they have found the reason: a glitch embedded in the DNA of the state exams that, as a result of a statistical method used to assemble them, suggests they are virtually useless at measuring the effects of classroom instruction.”—Texas Studies Suggest Test Design Flaw in TAKS - NYTimes.com