Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!

Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
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Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown

My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.

"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather

Monday, March 14, 2011

Confused about education reform? Read on!

I always appreciate reading the honest, straightforward, and no-nonsense articles that the neatoday magazine provides bimonthly. This month, its focus is on educational reform in our nation. The truth is that so many of us educators are overwhelmed and confused about what is currently happening and what kinds of changes to expect in our classrooms.

Thankfully, the article below attempts to debunk the myths and get to the truth about US educational reform and what we need to know about it now. Knowledge is power here, and we are only hurting ourselves by staying in the dark. Read on for some important truths and harsh realities:

Education Reform

Just the Facts, Please!

Time to get real about education reform.

It isn’t what we don’t know that hurts, it’s what we know that ain’t so,” said Will Rogers. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things about public schools that many pundits and politicians “know” that aren’t so. Here’s the truth about key areas of contention.

    High-Stakes Testing
    “Value-Added” Measures
    Pay for Test Scores
    Charter Schools

Extreme Test Prep

How does your school prepare kids for the Big Test Day? Weeks of practice tests? Energy bars? Pom poms and cheerleaders? Let us know at
You might win NEA's Broken Pencil Award!

High-stakes testing

America has been conducting a massive experiment on the impact of high-stakes testing ever since the so-called “No Child Left Behind” law (NCLB) was signed nine years ago. And the results are in: This enormous, expensive, painful venture has had little or no effect on achievement.
How do we know? Because the U.S. Department of Education tests samples of students in every state in a program called the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), nicknamed the Nation’s Report Card. And if you look at NAEP trends over the last two decades, you can’t see when NCLB kicked in.


Where's the impact? If you don't know when "No Child Left Behind" was signed, you'll never guess from looking at this graph of reading scores on the National Assessment of Educational Programs (The answer is January 8, 2002.)
National Assessment of Educational Progress
Here are links to the NAEP reading results for grades four,eight, and 12.
Source: National Assessment of Education Progress (“The Nation’s Report Card”)

The great high-stakes testing experiment has failed.
But scores on many state tests have gone up! say testing proponents. That’s because of teaching to the test. Under pressure from NCLB, many educators have focused on the particular types of questions and the areas of the curriculum their state tests usually cover. Ask questions in a different way, or on a different part of the same subject matter, as often happens on the NAEP, and students don’t look so good.
Don’t you hate it when your kids ask, “Will this be on the test?”
These days, aren’t you asking that question yourself?
In human terms.
Gayle HoffmanHigh-stakes testing was supposed to have a positive impact on how schools serve kids whose low achievement used to be taken for granted, especially low-income and minority students. Unfortunately, that extra attention too often takes the form of shallow test prep rather than learning that will last. And there’s less time for music, art, social studies, languages, and anything else that’s not tested.
For Gayle Hoffman, an elementary school teacher in Utah, high-stakes testing brought an end to projects that fascinated her second graders, like the unit in which they read about Helen Keller and learned the manual alphabet. After her school failed to make “adequate yearly progress” under NCLB, Hoffman says, “We were told to cut out all the fluff and only teach to the test. How sad.”

Read more about evidence that No Child Left Behind has failed

© Copyright 2002-2010 National Education Association

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