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Learning not Teacher evaluation should be the emphasis of media

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I for one, have had enough of this rant "to tie teachers evaluation to the tests." Anyone who pushes this is part of the problem as this is no solution and will leave all children behind the rest of the world, especially in countries that value their professionals and know what learning looks like. The editorial in  The NY Times, today (October 1, 2010) is yet another disservice to public education and to teacher-practitioners, and moreover, it continues this national conversation which focuses on teachers rather than on learning. 

One is reminded of the chant that 'deficit-reduction' is what this country needs, when it was the antithesis of the remedy that is needed to produce jobs and thus consumer consumption. This repeating of  'the chant'  for  bogus evaluation of teachers,  has wrought the same destruction on public schools. Teacher, like  doctors need to practice the profession for which their education and their intellect has prepared them. That practice is all about enabling learning, not memorizing information. 

Institute "The Eight Principles of Learning", which was the real thesis for which Pew paid millions to research. Standardized tests were NEVER one of the principles, although there was a single principle regarding  genuine assessment and evaluation... and that one was for the classroom practitioner, to provide information that would enable the teacher to plan effectively to reach all the emergent learners.  However, testing meant big money for privateers and the race to the top became  a race for that money, not to raise our education system BACK to where it was before the experienced teachers fled into retirement when they were no longer able to facilitate learning under the policies that had replaced their lessons for learning  with memory tasks. Storerooms filled with tests and test prep materials, and the practitioner was disabled, no longer able to plan or implement lessons based on the performance of the child, as evaluate in that classroom.

Most teachers who do not find themselves sent packing after their probationary period is over and their salary is about to rise, run for the door, their desire to teach decimated by a system that does not allow them to be the professional in the practice. 80% leave in five years, and THAT is a genuine statistic. This is a continued attack on the dedicated career professional-- the practitioner of pedagogy (facilitating learning in ways in which the human brain actually acquires SKILLS, and knowledge).

It is all about LEARNING, not teaching.

 Yes, there needs to be a fair evaluation system because the subjective, destructive evaluation system which allows management to destroy careers through bogus 'documentation,' is not working. The American Educator reports on the myriad of  schools that have solved this problem with realistic evaluation systems, but The N.Y. Times and the self-appointed 'reformers' and pundits rant on about tying teachers to valueless tests. 

For decades before the government stepped in with its policies to improve education and demand 'standards', our public schools produced a fine education for our people. The question to ask, is what changed?  The answer will demonstrate that it was not the quality of teachers, but the interference by non-educators who have no conception of what learning looks like, or what the 'grunt' on the line, the teacher, or the 'practitioner' actually must do to motivate the students to learn. Teachers have not suddenly become incompetent, the system has changed the practice to confirm to anti-learning agendas, assuring the failure of the public school system. 

The 'genuine' Standards (the Harvard thesis that WAS the New Standards) had 8 principles for "learning,' and four of them were directed  at the school itself, insuring that classrooms are not only properly supplied, but are safe, quiet and conducive to learning. When teachers enter a classroom with today's population of students, their hands (and mouths) are 'tied.' They cannot do what teachers have done in the past, planned interesting  lessons to meet objectives (real performance standards) judging what is needed, not merely to determine content, and using their experience and knowledge base  to motivate and sustain interest. They must teach to a test, not provide interesting lessons that stimulate critical thinking and real learning. They must also provide materials -- many spending thousands, as I did in NYC, to provide classroom supplies and learning  materials. 

The school cultures are too often set by abusive administrators who do nothing to enable learning, but persecute practitioners, and in too many schools, they are lawless bullies with personal agendas. This is a national scandal, and there is a total blackout on the abusive deprivation of due process which allows administration to attack dedicated Americans who happen to be powerless. Grievance processes have failed to protect them, and the media , controlled by those who profit from the failure of public education spread the same propaganda that they use to disable our political process. 

How hard is this to grasp? It is NOT the teachers! Yes, poorly performing novices need help to manage the students and implement learning objectives that succeed, but  classrooms filled to overflowing make it impossible for individual learners to participate, and  are filled not merely with distracted, modern, 'internet -bred' kids with low attention spans and little exposure to language or literacy in their childhood, but with problem students-- often disabled learners and kids with behavioral problems  who are 'mainstreamed' so that dealing with their interference becomes the only object, and maintaining order overrides learning objectives. 

Practitioners facilitate learning. They don't merely 'teach.' Learning occurs when conditions are right. Isn't it time we heard about the real standards for LEARNING?

I have written before on the subject of the subversion of the national conversation, and the total blackout of the war on teachers, the real reasons that schools are failing. 
"Bamboozle Em", appeared here, and "Subverting the National Conversation" appeared on perdaily dot com.

I also wrote to an essay on "A Constitutional Scandal" (part one, and part two)  where Americans who happen to be teachers, are deprived of their right to due process. This is the underlying practice that has emptied the schools and silenced the voices of the professional educator, allowing pundits and self-procalimed 'experts' many of whom ran public school systems (into the ground) to manipulate the media.

 

www.speakingasateacher.com

I began teaching in 1963,; Ba and BS in Education -Brooklyn College. I have the equivalent of 2 additional Master's, mainly in Literacy Studies and Graphic Design. I was the only seventh grade teacher of English from 1990 -1999 at East Side Middle (more...)
 
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Learning not Teacher evaluation should be the emphasis of media

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Instead of offering the public the expert advice ... by Susan Lee Schwartz on Tuesday, Oct 4, 2011 at 9:50:00 AM
I am publishing to this site, another piece  ... by Susan Lee Schwartz on Tuesday, Oct 4, 2011 at 5:10:27 PM
long and hard to know it. All too many educat... by Daniel Geery on Tuesday, Oct 4, 2011 at 5:50:20 PM