It fascinates me that Republicans and Democrats agree on one thing– our schools are broken and the solution is testing children and holding teachers accountable for low scores. Unlike political leaders in Washington D.C. I have taught 12,000 teachers and at least four thousand secondary students which naturally raises questions in my mind as to who is accountable for what? If one actually spent years teaching children as well as learning from them what works or does not work, the last thing to believe in would be placing importance on learning what is taught in school. Let me put it this way:
1. In 1911, a teacher stood in front of the class and students listened and wrote what was said. Ditto today.
2. The teacher used a blackboard from which students copies–today, they copy from a smart board.
3. Students relied on textbooks, today they rely on the same material.
4. Students were taught social studies, English, math and science in high school, the same today.
5. Students followed a rigid schedule and were marked “late” for class–ditto today.
The curriculum of schools in 1911 was not that different from what is taught today. Students never connected what was taught to their own lives. This is even more true today. However, one big difference is we spend enormous amounts trying to prove students can memorize what was taught and if they do not, we blame teachers.
I wondered today what would happen if we held politicians accountable:
1. We have gone from a National Debt of $5 Trillion in 2000 to one of $14 Trillion in 2011. Obviously, the American government is responsible so why don’t we have a test that would measure their success of failure?
2. We just had another Senator –Ensign from Nevada– resign due to crime of the pocket and body. How about a test which determines if a Congressman is taking money from those with money?
3. Each day our members of Congress make outrageous statements that are blatant lies. How about a machine that measures the truth contained in each speech as well as the lies? A giant hand could reach out from the machine and punch the congressman in the mouth to make him shut up!
4. Let each political party submit their budget for the coming year. An accountability panel would measure to which extent their budget was accurate. If they were not accurate, that political party would have to hand over to the Treasury Department the amount of money they lied about. Now THAT would be accountability!
5. Each party is fined for each member of their party serving in a government position who lies, steals or overspends!
Hey, President Obama, you are so hot for teacher accountability, how about some accountability of your own staff?