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

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Will the NEA Help Parents Learn What Teachers Know?

In some new survey research, TAKS, the Texas Miracle, is not fairing well among teachers:

AUSTIN – More than three out of four teachers believe the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills does not accurately measure a student's academic level and is turning students into test takers rather than critical thinkers, according to a study released Thursday.

The random telephone survey, paid for by a teacher group and conducted by a University of Texas researcher and a Houston research firm, found that teachers and parents share negative views about the TAKS and the way the high-stakes exam is being used in public schools, although parents' views were generally less strong.

For example, a solid majority of teachers and parents – more than 60 percent – said the TAKS has reduced learning to how well a student can take a test.

However, there was a divergence of opinion when the groups were asked whether the TAKS is increasing the overall quality of the state's education system. Roughly three-quarters of parents agreed that it is, while three-quarters of teachers disagreed that the test is helping.

"The results suggested that neither teachers nor parents want to return to the days of no assessment or accountability. But both teachers and parents suggested the system has swung too far from one extreme [no testing or accountability] to another [too much testing and accountability]," said an analysis of the survey results.

The education of parents by teachers on abusive testing remains a critical element in quashing this stupidifying testing scheme. If the NEA suits were attuned to what their membership already knows, rather than making backroom deals with the education privatizers, perhaps they would be using their power and expertise in helping teachers to educate parents on the dangers of testing to their children. Once teachers and parents start to speak with the same knowledgeable voice, this testing hyteria and child abuse will come to a screeching halt.

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