I have decided to send you a piece that I wrote on April 6, 2011 instead of writing something new. That’s how strongly I feel about this topic.
As I was reviewing a bunch of copy that I’d written in preparation for an upcoming book (yes, it’s in the works!), I came across what could possibly be the most FRUSTRATED and OUTRAGED writing I’ve ever done.
My brief article was written in response to a series of investigations about the Los Angeles Unified School District.
I’m known for telling it like it is, and I am doing just that – again. Here’s why…
…we cannot forget our responsibility
…we cannot forget the kids we serve
…we cannot forget why we chose education – or why it chose us
…we cannot forget our sense of mission by getting involved in things unrelated to our work
…we cannot forget that we can’t learn to get things right on the backs of our students
Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles Times’ reports on the lack of effectiveness in teaching as a hot button topic this week and I’m glad.
I have poured over the original articles, the Union’s rebuttals and possible strike orders, Arne Duncan’s comments…but I have learned the most by reading the comments following the articles – many responses say that the tests are “unfair” and “biased” and “too narrow” and one of the most incendiary comments in my book was the Union’s statement: public disclosure of the results “dangerous” and “irresponsible.”
“Irresponsible” to be held responsible?
“Dangerous” to make public the results of what our kids are spending their time doing 180 days per school year? I’m outraged.
Question: If it’s not about the data then what is it about? If we don’t use state standardized tests to measure student performance and teacher performance and report out who has made the cut and who hasn’t, then what is the measuring stick and who is going to determine what metric the measuring stick will be this year?
After visiting hundreds of kids and working with thousands of educators, I have come to understand that teachers who are teaching their tails off don’t sweat the state test – they know their kids are going to meet benchmark.
Teachers who are teaching their tails off don’t sweat the state test – they knew early in the year who needed extra support and they gave it.
Teachers who are teaching their tails off don’t sweat the state test – they see the test as the MINIMUM requirement for their students.
Teachers who are teaching their tails off don’t sweat the state test – THEY ARE TOO BUSY TEACHING.