They grind from one school day to the next, cajoling and saluting and marching their children along shiny hallways like prisoners at the correctional facility. They are preoccupied by the bonus pay they could earn from higher test scores, as they shop the real estate ads for an affordable gated community carved into some barren red hillside in South Carolina, a place where they may retire in peaceful repose, knowing they served well--knowing that the next generation will be in good hands.
What will you do on a National Day of Teacher Conscience? Go the Walmart? Walk out? Stand up for the Code of Ethics that your professional organization has apparently forgotten they adopted?
They may have something specific that is emerging in Virginia. Could it be, conscience? Will you support them?:
. . . . Denunciations of the No Child Left Behind law's testing rules are multiplying in immigrant-rich Northern Virginia. In Fairfax and Arlington County, educators are preparing to defy the rules even though they are at risk of losing federal aid; other area officials are moving more cautiously.
Federal officials have said repeatedly that grade-level testing is needed for immigrant students after they have been in U.S. schools for one year, a requirement they say will help hold schools to high standards. Most states, including Maryland, are following the rules. So are D.C. public schools, officials say.
U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings has criticized Virginia educators who are resisting. "It's time to remember that yes, Virginia, there is a Standards Clause," Spellings wrote recently in a caustic open letter.
Fairfax, with the region's largest school system, has led the state's rebellion. The county School Board voted in January to continue giving proficiency tests to immigrant students who have not progressed enough to take grade-level tests that assume language fluency. Fairfax school officials appear to be standing firm even though the U.S. Department of Education has threatened to withhold $17 million in aid if the county follows through with its plan. . . .
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