Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The guiding question should always be, "Is this what is best for kids?"... Right!

@arneduncan Arne Duncan I couldn't agree more. RT @DellaCCS @arneduncan The guiding question should always be, "Is this what is best for kids?"

Am I the only teacher that is tired of hearing this? There was a time when I believed we should ask, “Is this what is best for kids?” or “Does this affect our students?” before discussing any issue. I thought this would be a good way to avoid the 45 minute conversation about the pros and cons of assigned teacher parking at a school faculty meeting. Just imagine how much fluff could be dropped from the numerous meetings we attend each week. Anyway, my opinion has changed slightly. Why? Simply because the words have no meaning. How can they?

I have no doubt that the people that utter these phrases, and then proceed to push their detrimental educational policies, truly believe that they are doing what is best for students. My problem is this, simply saying you are doing what is best for kids does not make it the case!

I braved the heat to attend the Save Our School’s March in DC this July. As a teacher I felt a responsibility to my students to do so. I figured I have no right to complain about the problems with standardized testing if I am not willing to do anything about it. Here is the thing, I have a ten year old son who is diagnosed with autism. I know he is behind grade level. When he started kindergarten he could not speak a complete sentence. As he prepares for fifth grade he reads, writes, talks in non-stop complete sentences, and does math. His standardized test will show he is behind grade level and could aid in labeling his teachers and school as failing. When in truth, his teachers are all incredible and we owe them so much. I do not need a standardized test to tell me how his school and his teachers are doing. I also know exposing him to one is not what is best for him.

So I have to ask, with all the educators, parents, students, administrators, authors, bloggers, and other invested parties across the United States expressing their dissatisfaction with NCLB, RttT, and standardized testing is Arne Duncan even listening? I get the feeling that the guiding principle is not, “Is this what is best for kids?” Rather... it is, “Is this what I think is best for kids?” Or possibly...”Is this what is best for kids within the confines of the agenda I am pushing?”

We need to be honest here, if the “educational reformers” were really concerned about doing what is best for kids they would stop ignoring and vilifying the people that work directly with our students every day.

When I read the above post it really annoyed me! I am sure I am not the only one irritated by this post though, why does it bother you?