Everywhere I turn these days, I seem to be faced with another article about education reform. From Time Magazine to The New York Times, it seems everyone is covering education a lot more than they used to… or perhaps it’s just that I’m paying more attention than I used to because I’m shocked about the “reforms” being suggested since they don’t seem to sound like true reform to fix what is broken in our nation’s public schools.
Alfie Kohn‘s latest article in The Huffington Post, “What Passes for School Reform: ‘Value-Added’ Teacher Evaluation and Other Absurdities,” is worth reading and sharing with your social network. The article’s hyperlinks lead readers to more information on a variety of topics (e.g., “merit pay” to “teacher tenure” to “turnaround models”) that people are buzzing about. The hyperlinks are well-worth reading since they provide more information for you to have conversations, with people who are in and out of the field of education, about education reform that makes sense.
I’ll leave you with the section of Kohn’s piece that resonated with me most with regard to value-added teacher evaluations:
To fight back, an awful lot of teachers who have been celebrated for their students’ high scores — those teachers who can’t be accused of sour grapes — will have to stand up and say, “Thanks, but let’s be honest. All of us who work in schools know that you can’t tell how good a teacher is on the basis of his or her kids’ test results. In fact, by being forced to think about those results, my colleagues and I are held back from being as good as we can be. By singling me out for commendation — and holding other teachers up to ridicule — you’ve lowered the quality of schooling for all kids.”
Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alfie-kohn/what-passes-for-school-re_b_710696.html on 9/12/10.
On a related note, if you want to take action in your community, with regard to the pressures we’re putting on our students with regard to standardized testing, then learn more about the “Race to Nowhere” Documentary. Click here to find a screening near you.
I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).