I have to say, I am, pretty much, allowed to do what I want in my classroom.(Probably because my kids pass those tests)
My school is not an AYP school, or whatever they call "failing" schools these days.
I don't " teach to the test", and yet, my kids still manage to pass those idiotic, "waste of instructional time", "money down the drain", "accountability for teachers", so-called assessments.
So, why would I need to join the protest, "Occupy DOE 2.0: The Battle for Public Schools"?
- I love innovative lesson plans, edtech, and inspirational quotes as much as the next teacher. But what good are these things to a teacher who is worried about losing their jobs? Worried about the closing of their school? Worried about their school going "under review"?
- If I don't, who will? Yes, I am a one person, one voice. (And my hubby, who will join me). But guess what, thousands of "me" will be marching on DOE April 4 - April 7. Thousands! We can each make a difference!
- Our children are losing their public schools! And by our children, I mean children all over the country. They are all our children. Neighborhood schools are being decimated, (my Junior High School in Brooklyn, JHS 166)and turned into for-profit charters, led by young, inexperienced teachers. How is that fair?
- Test scores rule! How can test scores be what determines the fate of a school? a teacher? our students? I looked at my test data from the previous year. Data that lets me know which of my students met the "target". A "target" designated by someone who knows nothing about education. My kids passed the tests, but some didn't meet their "target." You know what that means? This PLV Teacher of the Year 2012-2013 is a lousy teacher!!!
- Why are Pearson, and other testing companies, making billions off of standardized testing, yet, there is not enough money in the budget for teachers and classroom supplies?
- Music, art, sports, hell, even Recess, have been removed from the public school system and replaced by test prep. Check out the private schools, this is not happening. Michelle Rhee, (the great reformer), has a daughter that attends a private school which caters to the "whole child." Are our kids not worthy of the same?
- 50% of my evaluation is determined by whether or not my students pass a standardized test in Reading, Math, SS, and Science, given 3 times a year. Soon they will be testing kindergartners! Then there's the "data" coach, (no educational experience required), telling teachers how we need to "adapt", get more "bang for our buck", and that this is the "reality" of education. I refuse to accept this as my reality.
- We have students who are going to be ignored because they were fortunate enough to get a "4" the first or second time they took the test. We have students who will be ignored because there is no way in hell, they will meet their target. The "fortunate" ones will be test-prepped to death, hoping that they can get those extra points, and meet the "target." Is this what teaching was meant to be?
- We have to be heard. We have to be taken seriously. They have to know that this is not something we will stand for. We will not stick our heads in the sand, and hope and pray that it will end. It will not, it will only get worse.
I am going to the Occupy DOE 2.0. Are you?
And for those of us who can't go, you can join the protest in many other ways. Check out people involved in the fight and get information on how your voice can be heard!