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Re: Switching seats on the Titanic

Posted By: Nancy Van Eenenaam on December 14, 2005
A teacher/technology facilitator and parent of 3 college graduates I would like to address this posting. Perhaps overall the focus of education has remained the same, to educate children and prepare them for their future which in todays world could mean many different vocations etc. Because we have huge corporations with their own agendas as to what each child needs to know as well as each states dept of education, school boards, curriculum directors, teachers everything becomes distorted and inefficient. My parents were both teachers and what they were teaching is still taught (history/government) but it is taught now as a shorter class for maybe 1 quarter or 1 semester in most high schools to make way for the multitude of other areas of need deemed important by the higher ups. So you see its not that their isn't change its that their is way too much change. It happens yearly it happens based on somebodies research deemed credible by some university and ends up possibly being a waste of time. There is too much meaningless evaulation going on, created to support the present decisions of the current government. I am now teaching at a charter school one of National Heritage Academies' charter schools and they have opted to go with the NWEA MAP tests- Measure of Academic Progress. Each student in the school takes the 50 questions test 3 times a year. The first time is the fall, then winter then spring. By spring you each student needs to meet their growth goal. It is up to the individual classroom teachers to "teach" to the deficient areas of the class by using the Descarte learning continum. The winter test will tell the teacher if he/she is on the right track. Who is showin growth who needs intervention etc. This is the 2nd year we have administered these tests and the results are encouraging. Teachers are them given bonuses based on the percentage of students in their classes who meet their growth goals. Teachers also use Open court and tech integration to complete their daily lesson plans. Florida it seems like Texas has a separate set of problems which no one will admit too. They have an influx of non-english speaking students who can not be subject to the same rules as the english speaking students.
The can not possibly meet the same learning criteria. Some school districts this constitutes the entire district. Yet they must meet really the same outcomes etc.
We also have another very very big problem in America which everyone ignores.....little to absolutely no parent support or involvement in student learning for the majority of students attending school, doesn't matter if we are talking upper class lower class etc. The media and the teacher prep programs do not want to address this. I know I have talked to several teachers who have recently graduated with teaching degrees. Its not really the content of what is being taught or the manner in which it is being taught per se it is how do teachers deal with no parent support at all.....NONE. Or no morals at home, things are vastly different with our learners......that is the major problem with the system and no one wants to address how to solve this problem. NO one they want to work on the easier stuff like critizing the teachers or the school districts. We need to work on the problems of non-english students and no support from home. Or parents who don't demand teacher respect from their children. Its always the teachers fault. Students need to give teachers respect regardless and parents feel that their kids don't need to do this. Huge problem. Its always the teachers fault. So those are my thoughts.
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 Switching seats on the Titanic by Patrick Greene on August 4, 2005
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