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Teachers to the Test?

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Congress should pay for the development of a national teacher test, using performance to judge accomplishment, and the test results should be incorporated into state licensing requirements, a new report from the National Academy of Education argues.

The components of the ideal teacher prep program outlined in the report--if implemented--could leave some alternative programs out in the cold.

Should performance on a national teacher test be used to judge teaching accomplishment? What other ways should officials be looking at to ensure teacher quality? What do you think?

50 Comments

1. Teachers should be able to pass tests on the subjects they teach.
2. My extensive experience in test development, validation and norming makes me very pesimistic that a test of teacher competence, other than by observation,can ever be validated. Even an observation checklist would be difficult if not impossible to validate and norm.
3. No test should be given for decision-making purposes that has not been validated and normed and its reliability established.

What else are you going to implement to make classrooms teacherless?

Higher teaching standards and subject-oriented tests are absolutely needed. However, curriculums need to be condensed and enriched in order to prepare students for the "outside worlds" of today and tomorrow. (Including quality employment, quality higher education, quality communications, quality math and technology, quality awareness of key issues and choices, and quality family and society involvement.)

Those topics cannot be expected to be acquired in current teachers colleges. Consequently, our licensing requirements will have to be revised to include other professionals and to face current teacher colleges and the states licensing them with some obvious tough choices.
John Shacter; consultant and teacher; [email protected]

As a teacher of special needs children, I cannot fathom how we fit into this picture, particularly those with children who are severely disabled. We do not assess them in the same manner as other children are assessed, often times we are pleased with tiny steps in progress, instead of the "adequate yearly progress" that is measured by standardized testing. How, then, will WE be assessed for performance?????? This does not seem to be completely thought out to address the situations for all teachers.

Oops, not exactly the question! However, because teachers of special needs children teach all subjects as well as additional skill based items, a national test to assess teachers may or may not be wholly appropriate for them. (this is what happens when you are up at 4am! ;))

Keep raising the bar without raising salaries and we'll lose incentives to attract teachers with talent, commitment, and skills. If it's becoming more clear that teaching and learning are so complex and far-reaching that we need to strengthen standards, then it's time to address the need for teachers to be paid for their professional credentials and experience.

I am the third respondent in this list and forgot to include teaching the basics of MONEY MANAGEMENT in my examples of what "preparing students for the outside world" requires. -

John Shacter, consultant and teacher; [email protected]

I think any test that is made by the government for teachers should first be tested on the government itself. Let our politicians have to take tests to see if THEY are good enough to run for election, then I'll take whatever they throw at us.
I could also see them making teachers have to pay to take the test.

When will we stop trying to nail jello onto the wall? The art of teaching is a highly complex act, that is refined over and over again during one's career. Who is to decide what is accomplished entry level teaching? Certainly our legislators think they know a whole lot about teaching. I like the entry from my colleague Greg Hall. Once we devise a legislator test, then let's talk about a national teacher test. I say this as a National Board certified teacher who is totally invested in the National Board process....but there is a reason why National Board requires teachers to have 4 years of teaching experience to apply.

I think teachers should be tested in their subject. However, I think that test should be good for any of the fifty states and US territories. It is offensive to me that every state I have taught in requires a different test to be taken. By doing this each state is saying that you aren't good enough to teach in this state. If Congress is going to make it manditory, then have one test and not the scores we have now.

There is some merit to the idea, and some interesting research done with RTI, or response to intervention that allowes a teacher to be "tracked" over time, the whole value-added idea.
BUT if we do not control the product, i.e. the student, their background, their ability and the context they originate from then how can we consistently assess in an "experimental", "scientifically-based" way?

Why are we not doing more to prepare teachers for the increasing variety (and using the multitude of "scientifically-based" research out there, c.f. bilingual/inclusion/diversity studies) they encounter in their rooms, i.e. ability, language and culture not to mention mental illness, being homeless and the product of poverty?

It seems we expect consistentcy in achievement when we are not even begining to wonder why our society right now is producing so many children which such a severe degree of disfunction in their families and home lives? Or giving teachers the tools, the training to handle it and still be effective teachers, c.f. research on topic, i.e. NCRESt, CREDE... now with 20 to 30 years of research that seems to never be experimental enough...

Maybe we are experiencing difficulty accepting the level of our own diversity as a society?

I cannot imagine how to relate test performance and classroom performance in any reliable manner due to the high number of variables. As Val Pientka mentioned above, teaching is a highly complex undertaking. It is the responsibility of teacher training programs to set and maintain acceptable levels of standards in order to graduate from a program.

My classmates and I took the National Teacher Exam 25 years ago. While I agree that every teacher should have minimum knowledge related to the professional and subject areas, passing a test never insures good classroom teaching.

I have mixed feelings about teacher testing and it is a very complex issue. On the one hand, good teaching is not measured by any "paper" testing and on the other hand, knowledge of content is important and measureable.
As a "older" teacher, I have resented having to jump through additional hoops everytime I have moved to another state. I finally took the Praxis tests in one state in lieu of more graduate work (already had a master's, extensive additional hours and 12 years in the classroom.) I sat in this test with pre-service teachers who were on their 3rd and 4th attempt at passing. I found these tests (took them in 2 content areas)to be fairly easy and passed them with high marks. As a parent, I was concerned with I met one of these new teachers at an in-service that fall and discovered that she would be teaching the same courses that I was teaching in our school system on a provisional certificate for one year. While I was sympathic to her need for a job, I did not want her teaching my child.

In a perfect world with a national curriculum, the same test for teachers might be a reasonable solution, however, we do not live in a perfect world. We live in a world where the rules for education are based more on economics and less on understanding classrooms, teaching, and diverse needs of students. Test development is very costly and this issue begs the question: Haven't we been through this before with the National Teachers Exam?

Another significant problem with a national test is that the accepted paradigms in education swing with the research trends. How can we assure that a test will reflect a knowledge base and not the latest educational trend? There is plenty of research pre-scientific based reading research to indicate a disconnect between research and practice. When I took the National Teachers Exam it seemed to me that unless one had read a specific line of educational research it would be difficult to be successful on some portions of the test.

"Congress should pay for the development of a national teacher test", and I ask: Shouldn't Congress also pay for the teachers to take the test? If you want quality teachers, shouldn't you also raise their wages? If you want to hire quality in industry, don't you pay for it? Also, "the test results should be incorporated into state licensing requirements", and I ask: Arn't they already? E.g. Praxis I and II, CBEST, and many others.

And I ask: Should Congress pay for the development of a national Congress test? It seems only practical that Congressmen should be able to perform competently. However, their test comes from the evaluation of their voters. Teacher evaluation comes from every student, parent, and principal who has anything at all to do with the teacher. Their votes of confidence do influence rather a teacher is retained. If wages were raised, competent teachers would be retained. Has anyone ever looked at the new teacher arbitration rates? Keeping good people in this profession is deplorable, but another test isn’t going to do it or make them more competent!

Isn't that what the National Board does???

With so much research on how standardized testing implicitly fails to measure knowledge and intellegence and is biased toward upper and middle-class white kids, why would we think that a similar test would work for adults?

I am proponent of teachers having masters degrees in the field they will teach, especially at the high school level. A masters degree in "education" doesn't prepare me for teaching Shakespeare, or composition, or how to conduct research on a topic. A masters degree in English/Literature/Cultural Studies/History/Mathematics/Science, whatever provides some assurance that I have done the work and know the subject beyond the surveys of undergraduate.

And I agree with the others that have mentioned a national Congress test. But who decides what qualified is in this world!! Seems to me that the people who have been making this decision for some time now have gotten us into the rut of underqualified educators in the first place.

As an administrator I have observed teachers who have passed their required Praxis but could not teach the subject.
I have seen others who did not pass, but taught very well.

Ironic. Sorry to all for my misspelling of intelligence. I should have proofread before posting.

Just one more thing to discourage people from entering the teaching profession. As far as I am aware, no other profession has to take a test to decide whether they are good enough to do their job. While I believe there needs to be accountability and assessments of teachers, testing is not the way to go. I have seen some really wonderful teachers with the ability to reach and teach the children in their classroom who have only a mediocre schooling record. Then I have seen teachers who I think should be in a different career because they have very little ability to convey their knowledge to the children in their classroom who would be considered top of their class academically. Tests do not make teachers.

Martha

Knowing the complexity of teaching, with both knowledge of the subject as well as the pedagogy that connects it with each student, I can't imagine what kind of a test could evaluate it, unless it included both portfolio and video observation, as does the National Board process. With research indicating that students make less gain during the first few years of a teacher's practice, it seems to me that what we really need is a year-long 'internship' or 'residency' with supervision and reflection during the first year or two. Teaching is not something that ANYONE does well the first year! (This internship is similar to the experience in some other countries, such as Japan.) We had a resident year at my high school, which allowed new teachers a .6 position with mentoring, observation, reflection, university class, and portfolio -unfortunately, the funds were cut. Maybe we ought to look more closely at what other countries do to induct new teachers (Read article in Kappan, Jan. 2005)

Having been teaching for 36 years the only thing that comes to mind is that fact that "Teachers make all other professions possible". We are forever being given more requirements in our profession and more responsibilities for our students, but never are we given more money. Budgets are at a minimum along with salaries.

Quote: As far as I am aware, no other profession has to take a test to decide whether they are good enough to do their job.
-------------

Lawyers and accountants come to mind pretty quickly.

Why not say "Congress should forge a wand that, when waived over their heads, sorts the good teachers from the bad?" Are there any comparable models for this proposed test? Is there any good reason to suppose that it can be done? I doubt that any other field of endeavor attracts more unsupported advice than education, and this has all the earmarks of another example.

While a test may provide some information about how much a teacher knows about a subject area, it does not address the important dispositional issues that sometimes negatively impact the children we serve.

Shouldn't college professors/teachers have to take a test as well? Seems to me that this would be a way to make this accountability movement uniform. Unfortunately, in my experience, the teacher training programs at the university level have been mediocre.
Here's a novel idea, why not have actual classroom teachers educate those coming into the field of education? Hasn't the research shown that mentoring programs work? Just some thoughts to ponder.

It would be nice to say that one independent variable will change and get a desired outcome. There are so many variables when discussing what a good teacher is and what good teaching looks like. Many of the variables are not controlled by the educational arena let alone the teacher.

On another point, there is no national test for any other profession that I can think of at this time. I may be wrong, but I don,t think I am.

Last time I checked, there was a teacher shortage. No wonder with the pay scale as it is. I am sure that more testing will not ease this shortage. I wonder what these "highly educated" members of this panel actually do for a living. I bet they haven't been in the classroom in many years. I was given an education by great teachers many, many years ago that were not required to take all these competency tests and they did a wonderful job. Additionally, the students were not required to take any graduation tests, etc. to graduate. And, most did fine in the world. In short, too many tests and not enough "leave us alone and let us teach."

Where do administrators and teacher leaders/mentors stand in all of this? Why do we need state and federal testing to assure that there are qualified teachers in our schools? In my opinion, the administrators and lead teachers in each building should be working with and/or evaluating their OWN teachers. With all of the push towards individualized instruction, one would think that the same philosophy would be applied to educators. Only those in the situation know what kind of teacher works best with a specific group of students. Ongoing mentoring and interaction, as well as regular evaluation, of new teachers by their administrators is much more valuable than a one time national assessment which is nothing more than a hoop to jump through (and pay for).

Just one more thing to pile on teachers. All this testing, additional, extensive college course work to maintain certification (post Masters degree) is outrageous! The only ones benefiting from all this are test writing companies! WAKE UP! In a field where math, science, ELL, and SpEd "highly qualified" teachers are difficult to find things such as MORE testing will certainly decrease the pool of qualified teachers. What a pain this 3 year profession has become. This highly qualified science teacher will be out of public schools soon! It's a shame.

Some times I think that additional teacher testing is a slap in the face to every teacher I've ever had who also tested me and said I was competent. The additional testing means my teachers weren't good enough to tell me if I could teach. In a similar sense, all my students who must pass some federal test because the grade they earned with me wasn’t good enough to say they were competent. In this dilemma I am tested. Now here’s the truth, I passed those teachers who taught me and I can pass the state and national teacher tests, but CAN I TEACH? Guess so, my students and I have been passing all the tests! So I must ask, isn’t a national or state test redundant and not necessary in the first place? Give your professional teachers a little credit and end testing on these levels. Let’s do a little better job teaching and testing in class the first time. I'd spend my money on teachers, not testing.

I believe that there should be more than one criteria for determing the abilities of a teacher. Yes, testing should be one of them--especially pertaining to the course that they will teach. I majored in English Literature, and have not been certified yet; however, my knowledge and passion for the subject I believe makes me qualified to teach it--even on an upper level. Let's face it, some are born teachers, some have an interest in it, others think that it's a respectful career, some are talked into it or perhaps they can't seem to target another career path. Then of course, many who never intended to be teachers are inspired by the need to educate children and therefore become exceptional educators. The point is that determining qualified teachers is as varied as the reasons that individuals become teachers. Personally, I think I was born to be a strong communicator, and can interpret and convey matter about a subject matter of my interest. Yet, I also support that fact that the gifted still should have some training on some level, and in some cases yes, certification. By the way, my goal is to be certified and I'll couple that with my gift. I anticipate to be more than a teacher, but an exceptional teacher who gives birth to exceptional students. It depends greatly on me as an educator, don't you think.

In response to Diane Blocker-5/25/05 post:
I agree with you, that teachers should know the material content that they are teaching their students, but I'm not so sure that just because someone hasn't taken a 'state standardized exam', or they didn't get a 'high' score (their are many people who just don't test well, but know the material), doesn't have what it takes to be an 'effective teacher'.
Being an 'effective' teacher is more than 'aceing' some one-test-fits-all, standardized exam. In my educational experience, K-12, college and graduate school, I've had more than one teacher, who knew the material, 'upside down and inside out', but was capable of imparted the knowledge to most of the students in the class.
I think the problem is we're allowing bureaucrats
not educators, to dictate policy in our public
education system. Government policymakers are simply 'out of their league'; they aren't educators and they know very little about the professional skills needed to be an 'effective teacher'.
Thanks for your comments.
Pax,
dcl

Here we go again! It is time for teachers to say "enough is enough". What we should explore is having universities that train teachers link with school districts. The university can provide the initial courses required for students entering education. Before the students can move on to the classroom experience courses, they are to take an exam to show basic understanding of instruction, lesson design, and methods for teaching. You must pass this exam to move on. It should not be an exam you get unlimited number of tries. From there the students take the more traditional course work - method classes. The difference is that the school district teachers can have an opportunity to teach the classes (a way to give veteran teachers an opportunity to grow professionally)and have the students in the classroom observing and actually applying the skills in the classroom. This could look like co-teaching with veteran teachers. This part of the experience could be a 1 1/2 to 2 year experience. It would include observations of the students during parts of the experience to assess quality of teaching skills and application of learned material. At any point in this porcess a student could be rejected based on performance. This is only a suggestion of what we could begin looking at as a model for future teachers. Teaching is complex and we need to make the evaluation match the complexity of the task we are evaluating. Once you gain your undergraduate work, you have five years to gain a master's degree. This model could be applied across the country and bring an end to individual state requirements for testing. This would allow teachers to move from state to state without the need to fulfill new requirements.

As crazy as this sounds, the advocates of additional testing for teachers may be better off devising a psychological test to determine whether a teacher really wants to be teaching.

Content knowledge, while important, is not the real problem. Whenever a particular societal function has a shortage of people available to perform it, the door is wide open for incompetency.

The only real solution to this kind of problem is to increase incentives to perform that function in order to generate a surplus rather than a shortage of applicants. Then, and only then, the incompetents can be weeded out.

Having read all of the comments, may I say that I have the deepest respect for each and every one of the contributors. I have found kernels of "truth" in every one, and a host of uncertainty.

Complexity in the classroom, lack of operational definitions, reliance of old beliefs, prior experiences, "magic bullets" gifted from others; these are ever-present in a system (educational) that rejects what it produces. The ghost of Frederick Taylor presents itself often, as if to say that "this one" is better, faster, brighter, more gifted than "that one". And so, the use of specifications approaches disguised as statutes, rules, regulations, policies, procedures, practices is put forth as having the potential to "solve" the problems of the system. Truly, as one above has said, there is the posturing for diversity while demanding uniformity; you can't have it both ways, and it shows a lack of understanding of the interactions within the context of the classroom. These will not be solved by incentives; more oats in the feedbag will not make the horse run faster.

My best advice to those who would like to make sense of the systems they deal with is to better understand the systems they deal with AS SYSTEMS, not as individual pieces thrown together. There is only one pie and one cannot undue the pieces if one doesn't like the taste. The data produced by the system has limitations, but how often are they mentioned? Reams of tables but little analysis.

One more thing I might mention; because sub-groups whose numbers are different does not mean that the sub-groups must themselves be different. How often is that ignored?

While we are at it, we might have all would be teachers walk on their hands across a span of hot coals to prove their willingness to withstand even yet more abuse. Who would pay for these tests and who wopuld write these tests. Each teaching situation is unigue and I can think of no standard by which all teachers could possibly be measured on a national scale. Teachers are already subjected to a battery of tests to determine their ability to teach, none of which even remotely touches on essential teaching skills. Perhaps administrators should tend to their job of supervising teachers and helping them to improve or recognizing their skills and accomplishments. A better use of Federal Funds would be a National Teacher Appreciation Day when the most important of professionals in our nation are recognized for the work they do. It would be nice if someone would show a modicum of appreciation for teachers rather than suggest that we are all undertrained, undereducated and underexperienced.

If a test could measure passion, creativity, and commitment it might produce some interesting results. But the negatives of standardized testing outweigh the negatives. There is simply no short-cut to provide our children with the best professional teachers than to create state and local education policies that encourage passionate, creative and committed individuals to take up the challenge of teaching. If it is truly the priority that all politicians give lip service to, education is worth the investment to lower class sizes, provide enrichment activities for students and teachers, have evaluations done according to fair and objective standards by peers, and provide a decent wage and benefit package that sends the message that a career in education is one for our best and brightest to pursue.

I truly believe a good teacher can teach anything. It sounds all touchy feely good to say that a teacher should be "highly qualified" in their teaching area. However, I've seen teachers who have never taught a particular subject in their lives stand before a class and sound like an expert because of preparation and a love of teaching in general. I'm not necessarily against content testing, but as far as an overall test goes, I don't see how it can measure commitment, passion and work ethic.

When there is a rigorous 5 year academic and Test for the President and our governors. I have taught Special Education for 25 years, No one can begin to test my devotion or the knowledge I have gained in those 25 years.

Read with great interest of the proposal by Linda Darling-Hammond of Stanford to develop a new national teacher test in Education Week (May 25, 2005). While it could prove to be an interesting project, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was really the missing component in our public schools today that would have the most profound effect on how our schools perform?

Part of the article in Education Week chronicled teacher training and what might be needed for teachers to enter the classroom better prepared. As a public school teacher in Massachusetts for the past 33 years, what I see as the missing element with teachers is their lack of ability to develop strategies to individualize their students' instruction. What I realized shortly after I first started teaching in the early 70’s was that kids learn at different rates. Why can't teacher training programs from Palo Alto to Cambridge recognize this glaring issue and address it?

If there are ten people sitting in a doctor's office waiting to be seen, the doctor does not call them all in to his/her office at the same time and say, "Today I'm going to give you all treatment/a cure for a sprained ankle." Most patients come to a doctor’s office with different medical problems and are treated accordingly.

If ten people go to an attorney's office one morning for legal advice, the attorney does not call them into his/her office and say, "Today I'm going to help you all write your will." Most clients come to an attorney’s office with different legal problems and are treated accordingly.

Why, then, do teachers sit everyone down at 9:15 each morning and say, “I want everyone to take out their math books and turn to page 164. Today we're going to cover number models and parentheses." Students arrive at the schoolhouse gate with different strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, students learn at different rates in different subjects. So why are teachers all over America still teaching the way their great-great grandparents were taught 75 to 100 years ago?

For a renowned educator from a prestigious graduate school of education to believe that developing a national teacher test will have a significant effect on the success in our public schools is one of the reasons the business community and state legislatures have taken over public education in this country today. The professionals in the field, the so-called experts, failed to get the job done. Linda Darling Hammond and her colleagues at Stanford cannot spend time and money working on a project that will have little or no bearing on the performance of our public schools. Ellen Condliffe Lagemann cannot really believe that ivy towered “researchers”, who have never spent a minute as a public school teacher, can sit back and attempt to promulgate what their most recent dissertation espoused as “the” answer for the ills of public education in America. For the most part, front line, classroom teachers have never really bought into these purported “panaceas”.

I’m sure their intentions are honorable and that they genuinely want to contribute to the reform in our public schools. But why can’t Stanford or Harvard, Chicago or Brown, offer up something more substantive, something more than a passing fad or gimmick, something like strategies for individualizing instruction in a public school classroom?

Paul Hoss
Scituate Public Schools
Scituate, Massachusetts 02066
[email protected] (school)
[email protected] (home)

I took the National Teachers Exam as an undergraduate and had to take it three times before I could pass it. I do not to this day remember anything that was on the test and how it helped me to become the educator that I am today. I am a mediocre test taker but in the classroom I am dynamic and can teach any child that comes through my door. If Congress is going to raise the bar then our salaries could be raised to meet that bar. Maybe the trend in education should be more toward apprenticeship based schools, Multiple Intelligent based schools and or the use of processfolios that display what the student actually knows and understands through hands on. Let's prepare them for the "real world" instead of a world of testing that does not exist out here in the "real world". Give the President of the United States a test for being President and then I will consider taking a test...Thanks, Les

Every so often a group of concerned citizens learns of teachers in the system with questionable ability. The attempt to weed out these teachers that are dragging down education meets with stiff opposition because they have tenure and pay their dues on time.
Teacher testing is demanded to be used as a tool to support teacher removal and is not a means to solve the underling problem. We can expect to see this as long as teacher unions are not made to be accountable for their failures.
Just one teacher that fails to teach the basics can result in 30 students fighting a 11-year up hill battle.
NCLB data forced our district to admit to 13 unqualified teachers. All are still in the classroom 30X11 equals 330 students per year scheduled for failure.


Back again after reading of a superintendent that resigned after his district elected a pro union board. I have seen this in action with union provided “Soft Money”.

short-cut?? superentendent?? urban math?? love of teaching??

The Constitution, the inventors (discoverers) of which were magnificently educated, but not necessarily schooled, requires members of the U.S. Congress to risk not passing a test as often as every two years.

Teaching is not like other professions. It may not be a profession at all. It may not be a profession at all because the government has financially defined it otherwise by restricting available income sources.

The teacher will become a well-defined, highly trained, highly respected professional at the time he resides in a community of similar professionals, better than 50% of whom derive primary income from private practices.

The risk would entail all the risks every small businessman assumes. It entails market risk which,among other elements, carries the risk of failure. Display a shingle on the door in the private strip mall next to the private attorney's door next to private the internist's door to attract a sufficient number of private clients to stay in private business. With the government school across the way offering proximatley free, identical government services for which the private teaching professional assesses $ 40.00/hr in advance, the risk is insurmountably high.

One can argue that it is neither a necessary condition nor a sufficient condition for a private lawyer, a private engineer, a private medical doctor, to love either his patient or his field of endeavor to succeed. Indeed,one can argue that even if the purveyor dislikes both his job and his client, he can succeed as long as his services bring about the client's desired result.

Many of you act as though teachers themselves never took a test as a student. Take up an axe with some colleges siphening money and handing out quick degrees. But, let's consider the quality of the child sitting before the teacher.
Who can make gold out of straw?
Children bred from mediocrity saturate American public schools. It is the parents who need a test before birthing a child; marriage could serve as a novel concept for some.
Those who raise a child in the way of the Lord rarely have the concerns that prevail among this group.

Several states already have performance evaluation systems that are tied to certification; however, they are not standards based and they are very subjective. How do you propose creating a performance based national test that is objective rather than subjective? Who would be responsible for evaluating teacher performance for the test?

Teachers should know the subjects they teach and tests can help determine whether they do. But can they convey knowledge and understanding? One cannot teach what one does not know but the fact that I know something does not mean that I can teach it. Let's work on a way to make this determination. Are the students in my charge learning the meterial?

First off, the issue of tests is that the community perception is that these tests are objective...which they are not. Personally, I have taken tests where I could justify multiple answers on a question and have even written the state of Michigan on how poor their test is. The response I got back indicated the lack of concern those responsible for the test are when quality is an issue. And I stress that again, because it is not about quality of education, it is about MONEY that the government is spending to provide the smoke screen to the public that there is a concern on the government level about education when the reality is that actual concern about education would require a complete shift in the funding and management of the entire education system...or to shorten the argument, it's a band-aid for a much larger problem and we are seeing the effects of that band-aid.

Second, the role of teachers in the US is abysmal...I spent some time student teaching in New Zealand and I saw a community where the teachers were treated as professionals and given the range to actually perform their career as should be done. The community backed them up and the view was reflected in the kids' attitudes in the classroom. That kind of shift would have far more application to classrooms than standardized testing will. Kids will be kids, that's for sure, but a lot of the problems associated with education are not sourced from school itself...rather the outside influences of special interests, politicans, corporations, and the lack of parental involvement. Just a continuation of the 'not me' syndrome.

3. What do we have to do to improve schools? Simple:
A: Community attitude change to support schools
B: Improvement of school conditions (infrastructure, supplies, salaries, support, etc)
C: Educational testing placed back into research instead of evaluation
D: Parental involvement in school life (IE: take some interest in your kid instead of treating it like daycare)
E: Reducation of class sizes (Kinda part of B, but deserves its own line due to sheer number of problems this causes)
F: Elimination of standardized texts that water down curriculum instead of primary source materals
G: Elimination of social promotion
H: Move the school day to line up to child sleep patterns (even if that means a few night classes...1st period in most high schools is a waste of time)

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