What I do know is that everyone is focused on the tests. Insofar as those tests are assessing critical academic and life skills, that's not necessarily a bad thing, but judging a student, a teacher or a school by those scores is not getting us where we need to be.
The lightning speed at which our infamously slow state legislature is trying to pass a statewide teacher evaluation framework can only mean one thing -- lawmakers don't want anyone to understand what's really in there.
Now I don't claim to be smart enough to understand the whole testing debate, but from a classroom teacher's perspective, it seems like everyone ought to relax and start with the things reasonable people can agree on:
One cool thing about teaching is that you get to start fresh every year, either with new students or with students who have matured a bit over the summer, and might have forgotten your screw-ups and grumpy days from last spring.
My school is in a formal School Improvement process, with loads of money from various sources and hard deadlines for real improvements in attendance, discipline, graduation rates and student test performance. And we are improving.
How's this for a summer blockbuster -- the American Civil Liberties Union is suing the state of Michigan for violating the "right to learn" of its children, a right guaranteed under an obscure state law.
The collapse of the economy has put a strain on all of us, but it has greatly affected our students. They are at risk, for many reasons, of not receiving the type of education that those students who came before them received.
A holistic approach brings together elements that support the development of a child who is healthy, knowledgeable, motivated, and engaged, seeking to ensure all that is required for successful life and preparation for society.