Check out this news clip from an Orlando local news station.
In our current climate, this story is not new. It goes like this:
- Public officials bemoan the quality of public schools and demand that schools raise standards.
- Teachers make adjustments to their curriculum, often teaching directly to the tests.
- Students take the tests and sometimes don’t perform well.
- Public officials lower the standards, let the students pass, and then blame the teachers for doing a bad job.
- Repeat from Step 1.
One of the strongest arguments being made right now in educational reform is that non-educators should be leading the way. After all, the argument goes, if something is broken, we shouldn’t rely on the people who broke it to fix it.
While I understand that theory, it also doesn’t make sense for non-teachers to make large pronouncements about education and then blame teachers for failure.
I do not have a problem with someone telling me that I need to do better. I already know that. But it’s not OK to talk big and serious about standards and then backpedal when the results come back lower than what you want. And please, let’s stop blaming teachers. It’s just not effective.