Location: Texas, United States

I am a teacher with 33 years experience in public education. The purpose of this web log is to critically examine the present state of education in our great country and, particularly, in Texas.

Monday, April 24, 2006

How to save American schools - step one

The first thing that absolutely must be done is to abandon the absurd notion that anything useful is gained from the current misuse of standardized tests. States, local boards and schools must simply refuse to take part in these tests. They are resulting in the destruction of schools, good administrators and good teachers while doing little or nothing to improve appallingly bad schools.

Perhaps the most aggressively dumb use of test scores is when the whole school score is used to evaluate individual teachers. In every school in America there are lizards who think that the way to teach is to make kids copy the textbook. In the same schools there are great teachers who break their backs everyday to see that thier kids get the highest quality instruction. Yet those same great teachers have their evaluations graded down because some other loon next door can't teach. This practice is demoralizing great teachers everywhere. The time has come for school administators of courage and integrity to say this is one thing I will not do.

The time has come for intelligent administrators, teachers and governing agencies to stand up on their own two feet and say this is enough. Most important it is time for parents to say with loud voices "you will not do this to my child." It is time for parents, teachers and everyone involved in schools to stage a rebellion in the voting booth. If a legislator or any government official insists on continuing the current use of standardized tests - vote - them - out.

Parents need to remind government officials that their children belong to the parents, not to the government.

I wish to concede one argument that school testing advocates will make. There are lousy public schools - many of them. However, standardized testing is not the way to determine the quality of a school. All anyone has to do is walk through the halls of any school in America to perceive the quality of a school.

The only intelligent use of standardized tests is to determine the growth of a single student over some reasonably extended period of time. Standardized tests of content should be used to gauge a childs' growth in a discipline. That is the single use for any standardized test.

Take back control of your schools.


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