I read this article from the New York Times today: “Obama calls for remaking of No Child Left Behind“, which shows a picture of our president in a classroom with some students, in front of a Smartboard with a picture of Duke Ellington on it, with some writing (hard to make out) and his signature. Looks nice, but a lot of things look nice on the outside…
The article is full of inspiration and political jargon-isms, like Obama encouraging “lawmakers to ‘seize this education moment’.” It’s not only a great thing that Obama wants children to know they’re a priority, it’s more needed than ever. In this touch economy, high school students feel more pressure to do more (and do it better) in school, to get into a good school with scholarships. And even if they get a college degree, there’s no guarantee for jobs. I’ve talked previously “kids these days”. Education these days is bad off. Linking teacher pay to student test performance is a bad idea. I read another article earlier where someone said teaching is the only profession where there aren’t pay raises based on performance (something like that). Well, how are we to be held responsible for a lack of parenting, or, previous teachers who haven’t upheld the high bar of standards.
The article addresses this new concern by saying that Obama wants to give more power to state and local government in education, hoping to “improve the quality of testing, demand increased standards and increase accountability by principals.” I quoted that because all of those things sound like empty political platforms. Nice ideas, but I’d like to see his specific ideas for increasing principal accountability or an explanation of which standards we need to be increasing. Standards like standardized testing that can’t possibly accommodate all the diverse types of learners there are in the student population today? I have so many problems with testing, I wouldn’t know where to begin, but, teachers probably have a lot better perspective than the people who will end up making these important decisions.
It’s really unfortunate. Here’s that article I read about an algorithm developed to measure teacher quality, which glaringly showed wrong outcomes right off the bat (yuck, yuck, yuck).
Obama rounds out his inspiring speech by saying something about how a budget that stiffs education would wrong the youth of today, adults of tomorrow. Again, it sounds nice, but, I won’t keep my fingers crossed. There are still wars being funded and corrupt institutions being bailed out. I guess I do have some strong opinions. And, once again, I don’t know exactly how I’d do it better, but I guess my main point is that this article seemed to be full of empty promises. Is there another election or a poll coming up or something?
No Child Left Behind definitely needs to be improved, as it was a complete failure, and I believe in Obama more than I would have Bush, but, it’s the government. I’ll be interested to see the follow-through with this.