If there is one thing that former school chancellors Joel Klein and Michelle Rhee, former President George W. Bush, and the current Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan can all agree on, it is a "No Excuses" policy for all public schools with low test scores.
These reformers believe without exception, that all children can achieve academic proficiency. And if the children fail, these officials also believe that someone needs to be held accountable. It is definitely someone’s fault. Who? You know who. Teachers. Forget about the fact that district leadership and elected officials determine school funding, class size, and the allocation of resources.
The whole complicated issue involving the poor economy, the loss of jobs and the growing poverty in our country is on the shoulders of teachers. They are to blame. Regardless of experience, seniority, or even due process, we have to get rid of those evil teachers lurking in our hallways and our educational system will be healed. Well then, we need to identify these bad apples, but how? Once again, you already know the answer. Our prescription to any educational woe… testing!
The formula is simple. Students tested, students fail, teacher fired! The reformers do not see how absurd it is to evaluate a teacher’s dedication and instructional performance on the basis of a multiple choice test given on one day of a school year. Testing can be useful in measuring growth and identifying learning disabilities, but in and of itself, testing will never help us to reach that high goal of proficiency for all.
There is an answer but you won’t hear it from officials in control of our educational policies, because quite frankly, they just don’t get it. The authentic answer lies within the sanctity of the relationship between teacher and student. A teacher does more than impart knowledge; a teacher inspires, gives the student belief in self, and opens up the world of possibilities for a future yet unknown. Pray tell how do you assign a number to that?