Hi, Scott. I'd love to read a Perspectives in Education submission that goes into more details about the testing issues you've raised here, if you are up for it.
I personally could care less about the ratings. My kids school received a "C" b/c they don't administer the ISTEP in every grade b/c it's an inferior test. They use a more difficult test and have been rated a "C" the last two years in a row b/c of it. I have been amazed by the education my children have gotten at The Oaks Academy. The teachers are fantastic too.
John Krull knows exactly what was meant by "Parents should get to choose what is best for their children."
It means, for example, that after 40 years of abject failure, parents stuck with the god-awful IPS system have a choice.
Choice is good, isn't it John ?
Here is an article on Ravitch and the Catholic school model. I think it's worth some consideration.
I do agree with you, Annette, that curriculum needs to be based on child-development, not on test scores or adult convenience. I do hope that something can be done before it's too late. I think this groundswell of concern by people like us is a step in the right direction.
Catholic schools were successful because they had the free labor of the nuns! They paid nuns next to nothing. Many parent volunteers, fun raising in the parishes, etc. augmented the budget. From the 70's on, women in general, and even nuns, decided to join other careers where they were better compensated and where their talents were more appreciated. For a decade or more, teachers came from the lower quartile of their graduating classes. How do you make schools both affordable and effective? How do you get truly talented individuals to want to teach? Teach for America throws academically successful young people into classrooms where a belief in education is not the cultural norm. Especially in high schools, these peppy, idealistic young people have an uphill battle to make any difference at all. "Failing schools," encompasses so many things: poverty, inequality of resources to individual schools within a state, busy parents (working poor), lousy childcare options, lack of preschool services, lack of understanding of what preschoolers need to be ready for school, and a lack of TIME spent by caring adults with children from birth until school and beyond. How can we fix all of this? It needs to be addressed with an overall plan. I believe in public education. But when you understand the competitive climate that exists, I also wanted my children to be exposed to material that would be "on the tests" that would define their college options. The need for advanced level courses is very real. Many schools are not meeting the standards. Some do not have teachers who can do the math problems themselves. This is for real. It limits students' ability to succeed. The early years of education should be vastly different than they are now. Kids need to learn how to learn. The curriculum needs to be based on child-development, not on test scores or adult convenience. I worked for years in education, but Tarry is right, there is a movement for privatization that does not seem to be causing concern among citizens. I predict that citizens will be concerned when they always are--when it is too late.
This looking the same, scoring the same...seems to me that the issue is that government entities don't champion or foster innovation or creative thinking. Their job is to churn out taxpayers. They answer to no one but themselves, whereas a private organization has to answer (and get buy-in) from consumers or a board.
I'm sorry, but I would much rather see my children's school re-named Chuck E. Cheese Elementary if that means their teachers are compensated well and have autonomy, and that children have access to the best technology, facilities and resources.
Interestingly, Diane Ravitch lauds what appears to be the Catholic school model in her book The Death and Life of the Great American School System. Catholic schools have historically ran leaner financially while accomplishing equal to better graduation rates and testing scores, and have generally served underpriviledged children much better than public schools have. And more importantly, they encourage (demand) parent participation and involve the whole family in a child's education. Sounds pretty refreshing, huh?
From someone who has worked in the private sector all her life, it's maddening to see how schools and the educational system is managed. There has got to be a better way.
I see this privatization everywhere...I call it the HOA mentality. We need to look the same, score the same, use the same psychobabble buzzwords. The children who don't or cant learn this way are left out. The unique kids who cant sit down shut up sit still and attend to filling in practice standardized test forms have 'something' wrong with them. Drugs are reccommended. Sameness is celebrated....high scores rewarded low scores blamed on teachers or those kids with something wrong with them.
Way to say it, Tarrey! I'm with ya! Hard to keep going and belieiving while we see the great parts teaching and learning being diminished and taken away.
sorry...correction not correct...
Thank you for your concerns. They are "spot on". One correct I would make, however, is that we teachers are already teaching to the test....leaving much out that is valuable. CCS will definitely make it worse.
Another voice of reason! Thank you.
Great article by Senator Scott Schneider.
IPS has been known for some time for its ability to train great teachers for other school systems - previously the townships, and now the charters. Hopefully they are beginning to take notice and will really listen to this fascinating critique, which will help more kids get the education they need, rather than more adults keep the jobs they need!
Love the idea of putting more autonomy at the individual school level. I hope these ideas become reality for more IPS schools!
IPS has some great schools with exceptional teachers and school leaders, but sadly this isn't the case with every school. The management structure of IPS is broken and decentralization is critically important to turning the district around. All schools needs exceptional leaders who know what great teaching looks like and who know how to build a culture of excellence. School leaders and teachers need to be given the authority to make decisions in the best interest of the students they serve, and they need to be held accountable. Unfortunately all too often loyalty is what is rewarded in IPS, not competence and certainly not excellence.
There definitely needs to be more creative freedom so that fantastic administrations and teachers can do their job and not have to worry about fitting the cookie cutter education system that is not working! Let's give these great ideas a fighting chance.
And here's Public Impact's "Opportunity Culture" plan for increasing class size and giving "excellent" teachers (which PI believes are limited in number) more students, thus spreading the "excellence" around: http://www.schoolanduniversity.com/
Thanks for hosting this conversation NUVO. As a parent with three kids who will all be in schools (IPS) in the next few years, it's great to hear this dialogue. I appreciate also David's focus on empowering teachers at the classroom level.
We also, thanks to no child left behind, force special needs students into classes they cant pass. We hold them back for one or two years because they dont pass the holy grail of what ever standardized test is at the top of the heap and then complain about the drop outs in high school. get a grip folks, if a student enters high school at 16 going on 17 and has four years to complete high school with the requirements they have they are GOING TO DROP OUT. the system is broken and needs a reboot starting with no more one size fits all mentality. let the kids who are good at STEM go that route, encourage all kids to pursue what is good for them and dont try and force everyone into a four year college track.
Website powered by Foundation