The new beginning for teaching and learning starts when teachers and parents get on the same team to bring unrelenting pressure on Washington and their representatives to act for the renewal and rebirth of public education, rather than acting against it for the benefit of the education industry, vulture philanthropy, and the Oligarchs who seek to turn learning and knowledge into another market that can be manipulated and corrupted.
Some good ideas for the new school year from Dr. Joe Ricciotti at Fairfield U.:
. . . .Instead of this obsession with standardized testing, shouldn’t we as educators and parents be questioning the entire concept of whether testing constitutes educational reform?
Hence, it is time for teachers to consider strategies in order to deal with the current sterile environment in education brought about asan outgrowth of NCLB and RTTT programs. Needless to say, it will be a very challenging and high-stakes battle as test-prone administrators, as well as local school boards, legislators and the State Boards of Education will place teachers in an adversarial position in this crucial struggle. It is critical for teachers to maintain a philosophical outlook that denigrates testing by attempting to spend a minimal amount of instructional time on this dastardly task in order to free up more time during the school day for real learning. Secondly, communicate with parents in your class the difference between test preparation,which is superficial learning based on facts, dates, etc., and real learning in which students learn how to think, research and develop a real love of learning. The only way teachers can overcome the pressures imposed on them by the testing zealots is to have parental support. Do you recall what happened in Scarsdale, New York when parents said “enough is enough” regarding time wasted on preparing students for testing and were able to put a moratorium on standardized testing. We need an army of parents collaborating with teachers who are vocal and who know that testing is bad for kids in order to help bring about real educational reform in this country. If enough parental support can be generated to rid the nation’s schools of the standardized testing burden, I guarantee that local school boards and politicians would change their tune. . . .