The battle in the Windy City is essentially about one thing: education for the best of us and then for the rest of us. This isn't just a clever phrase, however. There are drastic inequalities between the best and the rest.
If the primary goal of school is "educate and prepare tomorrow's leaders," then teachers, school boards, policymakers, and others need to recognize the extent to which education has a new target audience: older adults.
America's schools aren't doing nearly well enough, especially for our neediest children. We need accountability systems that create urgency and push for significant gains every year. Ideological arguments and utopian objectives don't help.
For all the functional objects schools might request, the most crucial tools for your child are not physically tangible all, but rather values that will influence every moment of the school day -- and not only for them.
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: