One aspect about teachers and educaation from Obama’s State of the Union stood out last night:
“Teachers matter. So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. (Applause.)
And in return, grant schools flexibility: to teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn. That’s a bargain worth making. (Applause.)”
My immediate response was: How do you plan to determine which teachers are to be rewarded? Do you plan to continue using test scores as with flawed NCLB and the equally flawed Race to the Top? If so, how do you expect teachers to do anything but teach to the test? After all, as it now stands, when teachers, and principals, are “rewarded” based upon test scores there has been a steady rise in scripted curriculum and “data driven” instruction, which is just another word for teaching to the test.
When I heard the above, quoted from the union address last night, I was absolutely livid because I feel betrayed by Obama and his buddy Arnie due to the testing based, union busting Race to the Top fraud, which has only served to reinforce the worst of NCLB, or as I call it ETLB, Every Teacher Left Behind.
I’ve worked at a school on probation for the past four years and I’ve watched student after student and teacher after teacher leave my school due to draconian expectations solely based upon making AYP. Teaching is more than training students to jump through test bubble hoops using rigid, fidelity to the curriculum.
The only reason I was able to watch Obama last night and really listen to what he had to say was due to medical leave: after working 12 – 15 hours per day, seven days per week since the end of August – yes, before the summer ended – we teachers do work during the summer yet all hours are put in off the clock – I ended up with serious complications stemming from a an ongoing health challenge.