"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, December 25, 2006

Teacher Revolt?

A good sign--a very good sign:

Modesto teachers are frustrated and angry with the No Child Left Behind Act because of the manner in which district officials are interpreting it.

For example, at the elementary level, district officials have been emphasizing that teachers use focus walls, post state academic standards in the classroom, and use pacing calendars. There is scant educational research that suggests that doing any of these things will boost the academic achievement of students.

These practices appear to be based on apriori assumptions, supposition and pretense about teaching. They simply represent cosmetic measures that do not address the deep instructional issues related to increasing student achievement. Many teachers are losing faith in the school district's leadership, and it goes beyond mere testiness to genuine indignation.

If the teachers and administrators collaborated to develop a plan of action, we might see the way forward while we are still in the NCLB environment. Such a solution-oriented effort would require teachers with integrity, not sycophants; it would require administrators who are collaborators, not autocrats. The circumstances of the day demand this.

PAUL RIGMAIDEN

sixth-grade teacher,

Franklin Elementary School

Modesto

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