It is so ironic that the battle for proper educational techniques is heating up just as we in New Castle County Delaware are swearing in someone who once brought stability and control to what was pure chaos.
Tom Gordan as chief executive came into our counties development crises which reminds me rather well of today’s educational crises. There were at least two sides, maybe three, all clamoring for something to be done about development in New Castle County. It was out of control. New buildings were going up, with one lane roads to feed it. Millions of tons of sewage were going to go into the ground on individual properties. The old pipes were not meant for such volume. Every community wanted a traffic light and every obliging state representative got them one… A Kohl’s could be built right against your back deck… There were no such things as abatements.
Tom Gordan said: There will be a moratorium on all new development. We will decide first, how we want to grow, we will put those laws in place, we will educate our inspectors on how to enforce those laws, and once we are ready, we will open development … up again.
It worked wonderfully.
So now, as I hear the corporate side race towards Common Core, and see their hands out asking for money, and see their high pressure sales technique, not unlike those of window salespeople who you invite into your home… Sign now! Sign now! Sign now! I have to think their is a reason they are worried we might have second doubts.
Then I see the side actually responsible for educating children, who says, “we are testing so much I can’t teach, and now, I’m getting fired because I can’t teach but whenever I do get a chance to actually teach, my students blossom”… This group says it is not the people who are driving low results, it is the system….
The question is: which is better for our children? To be honest whenever I hear both sides each speak in a vacuum, I’d have to say both are. There are good ideas on each side. One of the best new resources is a computer program that allows students themselves as well as their parents to see their progress. I’ve been witness to several discussion aimed at a computer screen that echoed the theme, “I turned that thing in!” And sure enough, they did, and usually it was a keypunch error, or a key that was pressed but not hard enough. And likewise, it certainly helps parental planning when the parent can use adult analysis and determine whether the holiday vacation overseas would seriously put their kid’s special projects up to 1/3 of their grade, in jeopardy. Without corporate intervention and tooting their own horn, that resource might have never gotten past a card dropped off by its salesperson at the state DOE office.
Likewise, having teachers set their alarms for 5 am, and finally crash at 11 pm, just to keep up with the normal routine of teaching, is burning them out. No one out there is tougher than I, but, not I, could do well without a “LIFE” to counteract work…. Therefore every teacher who survives their first year, simply does the same the next, and the next, … same tests, same grading card, same calendar, simply so they don’t have to put any thought into what they do…. Since classes are never the same, there are lost opportunities in this process.
The point is, we need a moratorium on this process. There appears to be a lot of money being thrown away for no result. I could be wrong. I could be right. So could you, so could she. The point is, no one knows? What if we spend three years going down the wrong path? It will take another three years to come back and return to where we are right now.
So six years lost if we are wrong. No years lost if we are right but we just don’t know. There is no harm in waiting. Those now getting a decent education,… will. Those who need more teacher attention, without testing, will get that too. Who knows what might happen?
There is risk in everything. Granted, we accept that. However if making a choice on which our national stability and economic viability depends, getting it wrong is catastrophic. In light of that, if we wait 3 years, get our act together, then launch into an integrated, well-oiled attack plan, by the time 6 years had passed and we were just getting back to zero, we would be ahead three years into mining a great national treasure. Our kid’s brains…
The money? Yes, there are monies out there earmarked to be spent on testing. Can’t we agree to put that instead into infrastructural improvement, while we sort out this issue?
I read North Carolina is implementing 177 new tests this school year. Now I don’t know about you, but when I spend all my time testing… the only thing I ever learn is “how to take tests.”….
I would like our children to get more out of school….