Listening, understanding, and partnering for education change
Thursday, March 18, 2010
NCLB Reauthorization - Everyone Is Getting Into the Discussion and That's a Good Thing!
Today's NYT editorial on the re-authorization of NCLB made a few good points, especially about measuring school and teacher success. While I believe that measurement is a good thing, the way in which district and school success is measured must be broadened. Good teachers monitor and measure their students' performance and growth all year using many tools. Teachers look at student products, project work, progress and end of unit tests, collaboration activities, and individual reports from self-paced learning programs. Using a test score from a single day in the school year to make any determination about the performance of schools is absurd. In California, the STAR test has no meaning for 11th graders as many have already passed the high school exit exam and only care about grades and SAT scores. There are no consequences for kids from the high stakes tests results, so what motivates them to do well except the fear that well-meaning, but misguided teachers drive into them? I've heard from many parents and teachers that there are much more meaningful measures of a school's and teachers' success. Using today's technology advances, let districts and states decide how to measure effective schools using a broader view of student performance so teachers can get back to providing a broader, more meaningful curriculum.
I was a competitive figure skater and theater major growing up, but ended up teaching (thought it would be easy! It wasn't but I loved it!). I landed in administration to lead a gifted program. A Ph.D. in Ed Psych from Mich State led me to a job as a corporate training manager, then independent consultant. I found security and creative opportunities as e-learning manager at Cisco, but now I'm finally back in education. I was rejuvenated by a 3 year experience helping schools after Katrina. Much of what was broken in 1980 is still broken. I'd like to help fix it.