I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Our President Is Confused

Or is he just another politician talking out of both sides of his mouth?
Then he said something really radical.
“So what I want to do is -- one thing I never want to see happen is schools that are just teaching to the test. Because then you’re not learning about the world; you’re not learning about different cultures, you’re not learning about science, you’re not learning about math. All you’re learning about is how to fill out a little bubble on an exam and the little tricks that you need to do in order to take a test. And that’s not going to make education interesting to you. And young people do well in stuff that they’re interested in. They’re not going to do as well if it’s boring.”
I think I am going to see if President Obama would like to speak at theSave Our Schools rally we have planned this summer protesting his administration’s policies!
But here is what is alarming. Either President Obama is trying to mislead people, or he is unfamiliar with the policies being advanced by his very own secretary of education, who was seated just a few feet away from him at this event. As someone who campaigned and raised money for Obama, I find both of these alternatives unacceptable.
Is President Obama aware:
* that Race to the Top requires states to tie teacher pay and evaluations to student test scores? If ever there was a recipe for teaching to the test, this is it!
* that his Secretary of Education is proposing to evaluate teacher preparation programs by tracking the test scores of the teachers they produce?
* that his administration’s plan for the new version of No Child Left Behind continues to place tremendous pressure on schools attended by the poorest students, ensuring that there will still be extremely high stakes attached to these tests? This creates the most invidious inequity of all -- where students most in need of the sort of wholistic, project-based curriculum the president rightly says is the cure to boredom remain stuck in schools forced to focus on test scores.
* that his Department of Education is proposing greatly expanding both the number of subjects tested, and the frequency of tests, to enable us to measure the “value” each teacher adds to their students?
Sir, you're going to have to do a bit better than this if you want teachers' support again. Or do you think you can win without us?

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