Friday, October 5, 2012

Testing madness, stress driving good teachers out of public schools

There's an excellent piece in yesterday's Texas Trib (NYT), "Strain for Teachers Runs Deeper Than Budget Cuts," which gets to the heart of the matter for my pre-service, college of ed students. It's not just massive ed budget cuts, nor the inequities in funding that are driving the best and the brightest away from teaching in urban public schools -- although that helps.
Ms. Peterson taught for 10 years in the Houston Independent School District at Johnston Middle School, which serves primarily economically disadvantaged, black and Hispanic students. For much of that time, she said, she considered the district a place that rewarded good teaching and leadership. Then policies changed, she said, and raising students’ standardized test scores became a goal that overrode any other aspect of their education.

“What mattered was the test scores of the students in the classroom, not the impact that people were having on students as a teacher,” she said. “Frankly, that’s super demoralizing, spending all this extra time doing what you know is best for the kids, and no one cares.” 
Remember, Houston Texas is the model school district held up by Rahm Emanuel to show the benefits of more seat time for students. 

Daley was smart enough to step down when his poll ratings dipped to 35%.
Speaking of Rahm, you may be wondering how is post-strike ad campaign, financed by the anti-union group DFER, is working for the mayor? Crain's reports that his poll ratings are plummeting. Only 34% support him. He's down where Mayor Daley was when he announced in 2010 that he wouldn't run for a 7th term. Only 15% approve of the way Rahm is handling crime. What's the law on recall, I wonder?

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