Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Teachers: Test Score Jockies

The mission of The Urban Teacher Center is to prepare highly effective teachers who significantly accelerate student achievement in the nation’s highest-need schools. They say they will accomplish this by recruiting outstanding candidates, equipping them with state of the art training, and linking their certification to their students’ performance outcomes. Over time, these teachers will be among the most expert and results-oriented in the nation, assuming leadership roles and making the public case for better teacher preparation and educator accountability.

Is this what it has come to?



  1. My initial thought is this:

    Suburban middle- and upper-class students would never be subjected to teachers who are trained in this manner. This is another unfortunate reform attempt targeted at urban, lower-class students.

    The website states: "There are numerous inputs that impact urban student achievement, but none as important as the caliber of the adults in a school." So what I'm seeing is that they're targeting the lowest performing schools, which also happen to be in the most impoverished urban areas--- but completely ignoring (read: actively rejecting!) the premise that it's the poverty that creates the learning challenges. A premise that has research to support it.

  2. This long under-the-radar meme, that it all comes down to the "caliber of the adults" in urban schools, is now fully out of the bag and flopping around like a hydra. It is the most pernicious single example of scapegoating in the modern scene. We talk about bullying a lot in schools--- well, a good example of bullying is the rhetoric emanating from these we-know-better test score zealots.

  3. "Efficiency is largely a virtue for the tasks we don’t like to do; few of us like to eat a great meal efficiently or to participate in a wonderful conversation efficiently, or indeed to make love efficiently. What we enjoy the most we linger over. A school system designed with an overriding commitment to efficiency may produce outcomes that have little enduring quality." The Arts and the Creation of Mind by Elliot Eisner (p. xiii)

  4. Great Eisner quote. I've often thought, during my three decades as a teacher, that when someone in a school (whether teacher or administrator) doesn't know what to do, they fall back on requiring orderliness, quiet, standard headings, certain colors of pen...none of which increase learning and some of which actually inhibit it. I know in my first couple of years, I would crave order as a substitute for knowing what the heck I was doing from day to day.
    Emerson said "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." Often I have seen it so, and this occurs to me as I read of each new resurgence of social efficiency experts and Standardistas. It's too bad it's happening in Canada, too.


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