Raising Performance in Our Schools
The letters to the editor in response to Tom Friedman's recent (brilliant) piece on Teaching for America (ww.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/opinion/21friedman.html) were as moronic as I've come to expect. Blaming poverty, opposing testing, bashing NCLB and RTTT, etc. Sigh… Here's one example:
If students need to develop their abilities to think critically, communicate effectively and collaborate to thrive in the knowledge economy, then Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's Race to the Top is racing in the wrong direction.
Mr. Duncan's emphasis on teacher accountability is quickly being translated into teachers being held accountable for raising math or reading scores, not for raising a student's ability to think, solve problems or collaborate.
Students who are driven to value their own test scores over all else are motivated to act selfishly, not collaboratively. They are encouraged to look for the one right answer, not to take intellectual risks or to entertain alternative solutions.
The best and the brightest college students will not go into teaching and remain in the profession if they are treated as assembly-line managers, evaluated solely by their ability to produce identical, high-testing students.
If we want students to be able to think, then their teachers need to be able to think as well.
November 27, 2010