National Poll: Students not Prepared After High School

Teachers are underappreciated and we are in need of education reform

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!

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  1. cooper
    cooper says:

    1) Get rid of the tenure system. Now. Bad teachers are allowed to continue their damaging ways without the fear of performance issues. There is no incentive to practice any of the issues above.

    2) Pay for Performance, just like (theoretically) the corporate sector. Reward teachers that get creative and motivate the students.

    3) Dump standardized testing. Schools spend so much time and effort drilling the over-importance of these useless tests, stressing the kids out to the point where turning to drugs seems like a viable alternative. Homework, participation, attitude (there’s a unique concept) and subject testing are the keys to judging a students performance.

    4) Make grade curves grounds for job termination. While self-esteem is important for kids, it cannot be the overriding factor. Some kids will not do well in certain subjects. Period. How about discovering where the child’s talents reside and fostering them instead of pounding round kids into square holes. Learning how to fail and move on is just as important, if not more so, han learning to succeed. The sooner these kids learn that they will not win/succeed at everything, the better.

    5) Public Humiliation for stupid parents. I was at a high school sports dinner for my daughter’s volleyball team. I sat in amazement with four other couples who regaled us with stories their kids sports efforts; like the couple that paid their daughter $5 for every basket she made on the basketball team, and how funny it was that during the game, their daughter would hold up five fingers to her parents in the bleachers every time she scored. These parents should be flayed with straps of rusty fish hooks and dipped in vats of salt and lemon juice.

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