We know many of our students are academically under-prepared no matter the grade level. We know there are many problems with the public education system. There are many politicians or people who have never spent a day in their lives working with children who offer “solutions” to these problems, but I want to know what you as professional educators think are some of the possible solutions to some of the issues the public school systems face.
Personally, in my dream world, I think one possible solution would be to offer free, full-day, pre-K to children in all communities (including low-income and middle class communities) starting at the age of 2 or 3. This would be different than day care where someone basically babysits the kids. Instead children would have quality early interventions they need starting from a young age so when it comes time to enter kindergarten, they would be better academically prepared for their K-12 education. This might also close the vocabulary gap and would alleviate stress to parents who basically end up working just to pay for childcare. What are your thoughts?
When the state tells your school department they are coming in for their annual review in April, and then give two weeks notice that they have all of a sudden changed their mind and they are actually coming for their annual review at the end of January…what does this mean?
What does it mean when some teachers are always given support while others are always ignored?
What does it mean when those teachers who were constantly supported are now receiving letters from the superintendent stating that they are considered to be high quality teachers and those letters are being submitted into their personal files?
What does it mean while other teachers who are repeatedly ignored and dismissed, no matter what they do, are left in the dust?
What does it mean when it is no longer about the kids, even though “they” say it is, but it is only about how the students scored on a test?
What does it mean when you are expected to do the work of 3 professionals and your job changes every year, but “they” are wondering why your scores have not gone up?
What does it mean when it seems like school districts, schools, teachers, and students are set up for failure by the state and country that are supposed to be their supporters?
DDMs (District Determined Measures) have been implemented in my school district this year. I understand that the purpose of the DDMs is to compare how well my students are learning the standards being taught compared to students of other teachers across the district. I do not agree with how these DDMs are being administered. All science teachers were forced to give the first quarter DDMs to ALL of their students a few weeks ago. The thing is that not all students are taught the material at the same point in time during the school year. For example:
– Teacher (A) teaches all of her students for 45 minutes everyday through out the school year.
– Teacher (B) teaches half of her students for 80 minutes/day during the first and second quarters and the other half of her students for 80 minutes/day during the third and fourth quarters.
– Teacher (C) teaches half of her students for 80 minutes/day during the first and third quarters and the other half of her students for 80 minutes/day during the second and fourth quarters.
So ALL students of teachers A, B, and C were required to take these DDMs regardless of whether they had science class first quarter or not, some students have not had science at all yet. This resulted in a lot of frustration from students. Some students were sobbing during the test with tears rolling down their faces. They said they felt “stupid”, “dumb”, and “like and idiot” because they did not understand the material on the test. It pained many teachers and I to see this reaction in our students. Part of our job is to inspire a love for science, not make students feel like they are inferior or not capable of mastering the material. I do not blame them for feeling the way they did. I would probably feel the same way if I were in their shoes. Teachers should not be forced to test their students on material that they have not yet been taught. I do not even see how this could possibly be used as a true DDM since teachers all over the district are given different schedules to teach their students, not to mention some teachers only teach one grade, while some teach two, and others are the only middle school teacher in their school and are responsible for teaching all three grades.
What are your thoughts?
I just switched classes for the second quarter and am starting with new groups of students. With time being short in the classroom to try and complete everything that I have to get accomplished and everything I want to accomplish, I have decided to try assigning an activity for students to complete for homework. It is important to me, as a general science teacher, to have my students realize that “thinking like a scientist” and the scientific process comes naturally to them. For the first week and a half that I have them, students will complete different parts of the scientific process as their homework assignment, with the exception of making their data table, which will be made in class prior to conducting their experiment at home. Students come up with their own testable question they wish to investigate for this process. By doing this, it allows students to take ownership over an activity, touches upon material I do not have much time to go over in class, and hopefully it may even get some families involved in their child’s homework.
MCAS scores are out. Inner city teacher moral is low. When did society start blaming everything on the teachers? Don’t people realize that teachers are the low people on the totem pole? Teachers follow the directives given by administration and the district, whom are just following what the state directs them to do. I think the wrong people are under fire. How many politicians say that they care about education and students are the future of this country? I hardly know of any politicians who have made public education better in the past decade. What do people think about this issue?