Those who voted for Barack Obama expected significant changes from the failed policies of George Bush so imagine our surprise when on many occasions Barack turns out to be Bush light. Educators and parents and students hoped Obama’s election would end the tyranny of testing initiated by Bush in his infamous No Child Left Behind law. So, what happens? We get Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education who wants MORE TESTING INCLUDING TESTING OF TEACHERS!!
Any educator believes in accountability of performance, but the issue also is exactly how one judges “success” or “failure” in teaching. The current curriculum in schools derives from 19th century ideas of education and it is these which Bush wanted to compel students to learn and teachers to teach. We have a boring irrelevant curriculum in place which has no connection to life in the 21st century. Along comes Arne Duncan(basketball playing buddy of Obama) who wants to evaluate teachers on the test scores of children!
Anyone who has taught children for several years (Mr. Duncan’s experience consists of tutoring) knows there are simply too many variables at play in linking teachers to student scores. UNLESS, TEACHERS SPEND THE ENTIRE TERM TRAINING CHILDREN TO PASS TESTS! Duncan has bought into Bush Light with its focus on testing for a boring curriculum which lacks exciting education for life in the 21st century.
1. Ask Billy Gates to form a task force whose goals will be to identify what constitutes education for 21st century life.
2. The task force could also identify what are the basic skills necessary for success in 21st century living.
3. The task force should explore the best settings for students and teachers in a modern learning center. This means re-examining the role and function of schools.
Unless the above are known, how can students and teachers be “tested?”
It might help to accomplish these goals if the President would appoint someone to head education who ACTUALLY HAS TAUGHT CHILDREN!!
I await Barack Obama appointing a basketball playing teacher as his Secretary of Commerce. After all, they play basketball.