As exciting as all this was, where were the teachers in these conversations? Many of us felt that we were invited because we actively lead in our schools, communities, and countries, and we expected to have a similar role at ISTP. We felt stifled in the exchange. So, in true teacher form, we didn't give up.
A little less than 1 in 5.3 (19%) students nationally don't graduate high school, per the U.S. Department of Education's most recent data (2012). This number represents approximately 1 in 6.7 (15%) Whites; 1 in 4.2 (24%) Hispanics; 1 in 3.1 (32%) Blacks; 1 in 14.3 (7%) Asian/Pacific Islanders; 1 in 3.1 (32%) American Indian/Alaska Natives.
Annual testing is valuable, but students deserve a system that protects them from unnecessary, redundant tests. Congress should ensure that the SMART Act is included in the final ESEA bill that it sends to the president, because this will make us all smarter educators and give us additional time to make our students learn smarter.
Congress can ensure a better future for our kids by reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act with language that empowers schools to limit redundant benchmarking assessments, maintains annual standardized tests for third through eighth grade, and changes the stakes to offer more support to teachers serving students with the greatest needs.