21 August 2010

Test Results = Teacher Rating

Edited for clarity, my response on an educator blog after I was told that the LA Times is muddying the individual reputations of teachers, that it's unfair, and that if this "abuse" continues,  NO ONE would want to teach in public schools:

Ordinarily one takes a test for oneself, for a grade or to demonstrate mastery. But under NCLB entire DISTRICTS are penalized for students' poor performance on a test... but not individual teachers? The rationale being...?

I mean... I agree this destroys reputations. Standardized testing has already destroyed the reputations of entire school districts. It has destroyed the self-esteem of I don't know how many children who have done their best work and still received poor scores. How could teachers possibly escape the same pain these tests inflict?

But do I see teachers refusing to administer said tests? Um... no.

I'm really, really, really confused, Name. Because on a personal level, I think the tests should be pitched into a bin and all schools should figure out what they want to teach locally, and NEVERMIND what they are doing in the next town or even the next classroom over. Give the teacher power. But if teachers know they're entering into the testing factory when they sign up, it seems odd to complain that someone gets hold of the numbers.

I GET that real people and their "reputations" are hurt by this. I submit to you that it is only because they have bought into the lie that the test truly, truly means anything. And I can feel sad for them that they are undergoing such public scrutiny, but did they not sign up for this "testing?"

Obviously the unions are not fighting for local administrative control and the obliteration of the standardized test. I'm not seeing teachers fighting it, either.

I guess I'm flabbergasted. I could have told you a million times over how evil these tests were. How they should never rank students by race or income level (how demeaning!).

But apply it to an individual teacher, and only THEN it's wrong?

I know I don't get a vote in any of these processes (call me disenfranchized), but it seems a rather inconsistent viewpoint. Maybe mine is too in that I disagree with the testing process, but understand that since EVERYONE ELSE seems to like it or at least tolerate it (as in, not FIGHT it, not FIGHT any and all standardized tests in public schools), that it ought be perceived as a fair evaluation.

I myself took no standardized tests except those crazy "gifted" tests and the SAT during my public school education. And I am not that old.

Can we go back to those days yet? Has anyone else had enough?


  1. I've heard through the grapevine that teachers around here HATE the Standards of Learning Tests that Virginia has. They are doing anything they can to get out of teaching the grades in which these tests are administered. They say the tests have taken all the creativity out of teaching. An award-winning teacher in our area who retired this past school year was brave enough to voice her opinion about the whole thing for a local newspaper. I wonder if teachers are given any chance to provide input about this whole testing thing. I'm fascinated with the history of mandated education.. it really hasn't been around all that long. I wonder what changes will be forthcoming, especially considering all the financial troubles that municipalities are having.

  2. NCLB = No Child Left Untested

    It does a disservice to our children. It reduces them to a meaningless number. The kids who think inside the box score well. The kids who don't care or who think outside the box score poorly.

    If parents really care about education, they need to get involved, regardless of where their kids are educated. The parents who don't care are setting up their kids for a lifetime of failure.

    My son went to Haiti. He said he felt guilty for all the times he has slacked off in his education. The kids who met there will do almost anything to get a good education because they see it as the ticket to a better future.

    It goes beyond that though. As long as we focus on regurgitating impersonal facts that any dweeb can look up online or in a book, then our educational system is a failure. They need to learn to think for themselves. They need to live in a large room full of interesting ideas. They need a style of education that makes them longing to know more.


Non-troll comments always welcome! :)