Re: Why are teachers under attack?
- Subject: Re: Why are teachers under attack?
- From: Will Tanzman <HereticUU@AOL.COM>
- Date: Thu, 5 Aug 1999 02:46:11 EDT
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
I agree with most of what you said in your posting regarding the negative
and false assumptions about children that often drive education policy. The
one aspect of your response that bothered me was the assumption that
education is basically succeeding in America.
"High-stakes testing and the whole panoply of education reforms are
necessary because [teachers] have succeeded too well in giving [their]
students hope. High stakes testing is designed to produce massive school
failure on the part of young people in Chicago, in Boston, in Florida,
The failure of schools in Chicago was not caused by standardized tests.
Schools here have been failing by everybody's standards, especially those of
the groups that most strongly oppose high-stakes testing. Teachers have far
too many students per class and get paid far less than they deserve.
Continuing education for teachers is almost completely neglected. Students
encounter a terrible learning environment in schools that are falling apart.
Parents are discouraged from getting involved in their children's education
by huge amounts of bureaucracy and understaffed, often uncooperative school
Those are only a few of the many problems facing the Chicago Public
Schools and many other urban school systems. Our society has simply not been
willing to invest enough resources in education to create truly successful
schools in troubled areas. Many suburban schools succeed, but they are
usually located in white middle- and upper-class districts. Children and
parents there are faced with far fewer problems than those living in urban
areas and lower-income suburbs and can afford to pay far more money for their
schools. The higher-income groups living in cities often send their children
to private schools and let the public schools decline. The Chicago Public
Schools spent less than half as much money per student as many suburban
districts, and it shows. The schools that need resources most are being
Talking about standardized tests and education reform in general by
getting defensive and talking about how great our schools are doing is simply
ludicrous. The point is that schools need to be really reformed instead of
just tested more. Standardizing curriculum from above and putting more
pressure on everybody through high-stakes testing is not going to fix
anything. Teachers who work in schools where many of the students are
disadvantaged to start out with should be paid better and given more
resources and fewer students. All teachers should be educated more, starting
when they get their teaching degrees and continuing until they retire.
Tutoring and other after-school programs should be a standard back-up for
students having trouble.
These are just a few things that could be done at many schools that are
currently having trouble. Teacher are under attack because our educational
system is failing the disadvantaged students who need it most and they are
being used as a scapegoat. I agree that all students can succeed if given
the proper opportunity, but they certainly not succeeding now.
Organized Students of Chicago
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