I’m frustrated. Am I the only one? My child is only 1 years old and I’m already worried about her education. Our education system is looking more dismal. We see the problems—we may even see some solutions—but we aren’t connecting the dots with actual support and change.
“School reform today is like a freight train, and I’m out on the tracks saying, ‘You’re going the wrong way!’” DIANE RAVITCH, education historian and a former assistant secretary of education.
In a landmark nationwide survey by Scholastic and the Bill/Melissa Gates Foundation, of 40,000 American teachers, teachers expressed that they did not feel students were prepared to be successful after high school. Teachers were also concerned about the lack of support for these students. In fact, 38% of teachers polled said that the lack of support from family members and friend is the single most likely reason students will not be prepared for a two or four year college.
The teachers identified 5 ways to address the challenges facing schools:
(1) Establishing clearer, tougher, academic standards that are common among all 50 states
74% of teachers say that clearer standards would make a strong or very strong impact on student achievement
(2) Using multiple measures to assess student performance
Ninety-two percent of teachers say ongoing in-classroom assessment is either very important or absolutely essential in measuring student performance
(3) Using innovation and creativity to reach today’s students
More than 90% of teachers say that differentiated assignments are absolutely essential for improving student achievement and engaging students in learning
(4) Creating a partnership and a bridge between school and home to raise student achievement.
Eight in 10 high school teachers (81%) attend after-school and weekend events of their students, and more than half (51%) of elementary school teachers are willing to have parent-teacher conferences at students’ homes
(5) Providing supportive leadership to teachers
When asked about teacher retention, nearly all teachers say that non-monetary rewards like supportive leadership and collaborative working environments are the most important factors to retaining good teachers
Teachers are right. They aren’t getting the support they need. So I would add to these 5 ways—the need to recognize great teachers for going above and beyond.
In a recent study called “The Widget Effect,” many teachers reveal that they feel interchangeable—the good teachers aren’t getting the benefits, compensation and praise they deserve and the less successful teachers are being lumped right on in with the successful ones. The result? Our children suffer. Fewer good teachers stay. Fewer new teachers come into the trade. Less creativity is used—because, why bother? In a teacher’s eyes, nobody’s going to notice anyway. Mediocrity becomes inevitable. Or even less than that. Passing.
“Unfortunately, it seems the field doesn’t have a clear view of what characterizes good teaching,” — Bill Gates, New York Times, On Building a Better Teacher
Is that really what we want for our kids? What is the answer????
What do you think the state of American schools is at this time? Are you happy with your children’s school situation or not? Please feel free to comment here or go to my Facebook Fan page and comment there!