Posts tagged News

CNN: Why America's teachers are enraged

The uprising in Madison is symptomatic of a simmering rage among the nation’s teachers. They have grown angry and demoralized over the past two years as attacks on their profession escalated.

The much-publicized film “Waiting for Superman” made the specious claim that “bad teachers” caused low student test scores. A Newsweek cover last yearproposed that the key to saving American education was firing bad teachers.

Teachers across the nation reacted with alarm when the leaders of the Central Falls district in Rhode Island threatened to fire the entire staff of the small town’s only high school. What got their attention was that Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and President Obama thought this was a fine idea, even though no one at the high school had been evaluated.

The Obama administration’s Race to the Top program intensified the demonizing of teachers, because it encouraged states to evaluate teachers in relation to student scores. There are many reasons why students do well or poorly on tests, and teachers felt they were being unfairly blamed when students got low scores, while the crucial role of families and the students themselves was overlooked.

Teachers’ despair deepened last August when The Los Angeles Times rated 6,000 teachers in Los Angeles as effective or ineffective, based on their students’ test scores, and posted these ratings online. Testing experts warn that such ratings are likely to be both inaccurate and unstable, but the Times stood by its analysis.

Now conservative governors and mayors want to abolish teachers’ right to due process, their seniority, and — in some states — their collective bargaining rights. Right-to-work states do not have higher scores than states with strong unions. Actually, the states with the highest performance on national tests are Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Vermont, and New Hampshire, where teachers belong to unions that bargain collectively for their members.

This is an article worth your time.  Please click the link to read the entire article.

Idaho Statesman: Idaho lawmakers to decide on science requirement

BOISE, Idaho — State lawmakers will have final say in whether Idaho scraps a requirement that high school students pass standardized tests in science before they graduate.

A plan to dump the requirement is set to go before the 2011 Idaho Legislature, which convenes in January.

Public schools chief Tom Luna says science classes vary from district to district and students are only tested twice - in the 5th- and 7th-grades - before it really counts.

Luna’s office confirmed that the state Board of Education last week approved removal of the science test as a graduation requirement, starting with the class of 2013. Luna’s department was directed to create end-of-course assessments in science that students will have to pass to graduate.