The vote is all most of us have. The single ballot may seem a tiny drop in an ocean of dishonesty and greed, but the power is in the collective. We call that democracy, and giving up even a tiny piece of it is wrong.


In my mind, Bill Gates is buying off excellence developed on the public dime, making teachers an offer they can't refuse.


I want to make that kind of difference for all students in the state of Michigan. Currently I see no other way to be able to make that difference for students in my state of Michigan than to become a state legislator.


In the messy world of school reform, it's hard to find people who are ideologically pure.


Let's dispense with "filling in"-- putting a variable-quality surrogate in when the teacher must be gone. Everyone who teaches a child should be considered a real teacher and bring real, vetted skills to the table.


Of course, before they begin testing, no one asks at what grade level they are currently functioning. They are all expected to function at grade level or above no matter how many different teachers they had the year before or what their own struggles were just to get to school each day.


Here's a novel thought: Teachers are already experienced leaders who could engender and nurture more effective leadership in their administrators.


Don't most teachers stay in teaching because they find it personally rewarding? Can't every reasonably good teacher generate stories about The Kid Who Was Hard to Reach, who somehow came around, or the deep satisfaction of seeing the light bulb of student comprehension turn on?


Standardization is about uniformity and comparison. Assessment is something else entirely.


What I know as a music assessment specialist: We measure what we value. We can shoot to expand teachers' own assessment literacy in the arts. We can enhance their instructional and curricular repertoires. But we won't raise teaching quality in the arts by administering standardized tests.


The opinions expressed in Teacher in a Strange Land are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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