I am feeling particularly proud of my school because we are getting involved in the movement against high stakes testing. As one of the top 25 schools identified in NY state as high-achieving, we are protesting the use of high stakes standardizes tests and discussing the ways in which teachers have been negatively impacted by the tests. We are giving teachers a voice in this education reform maelstrom.
Check out the event and more information here: http://www.teacherstalktesting.com/
Sir Ken Robinson, a world renowned education and creativity expert, explains among other things, the path that education reform is taking so far based on old paradigms and assumptions about how we educate youth.
In particular, pay attention to the parts on divergent thinking and how everyone has the capacity for it, the habits of old institutions, aesthetic learning vs. anaesthetic learning, and group collaborative learning. This is an excellent video.
There have been so many disheartening and disappointing things that I've seen in the education system in NYC. The first disappointment came when I was in school at TC and I saw that Cathie Black, former Hearst Magazines president with no education experience, was named Chancellor of the largest public school system in the United States. At least she stepped down after three months. The second disappointment occurred today when New York City released flawed value-added assessment data of all its teachers to the public. The impact of this disgraceful public humiliation by the city of our hard-working teachers is something that cannot just be undone. It has lasting impact on not just the teacher, but the wider school and family communities. When confidence in teachers need to be strengthened, the city is shaming teachers with flawed, inaccurate data.
Schools are communities where everyone cooperates--to help those who need help, to educate those who have not had the opportunity to be educated, to learn together, strengthening our communal knowledge.
I want to make this point crystal clear so let me use the following table below to make clear why schools are, and should remain, communities. This will also help elucidate the contrast between the community based model of education and the business model being advocated by businessmen.
Schools are, and should remain, communities
Schools ought to operate like stores
If advocates of the business model want to weed out the "bad worker" or the "bad teacher," they need to first define who that is and develop a system WITH educators and administrators that reviews the performance of the teacher and determines that they cannot teach or improve.
As I teach my students when they face a bully who does not respect them and tries to shame them in front of their peers, rise above. Bullies are not team players and they usually have very few, if any, friends because bullies will turn on their friends, too. Bullies treat you like an object that they can just toss around, not asking for your opinion and not believing that people can change and grow. Perhaps bullies lost the confidence in themselves that they could change and grow and now can only exert power to humiliate others.
NYC, do not be a bully to your teachers and don't treat them like commodities.
The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and do not reflect those of institutions, organizations, or employers associated with me, past or present.