Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » A LETTER FROM THE OTHER SIDE

    Filed at 6:16 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s a pretty good one from a g-school teacher. I’d argue about “parent accountability” but she makes her other points well.

    Qualified teacher is skeptical of reform

    I was feeling a little smug as I read Al Mascitti’s piece on the inevitable failure of the state’s accountability system. Most educators agree with his view, not because teachers don’t want to be accountable but because they want to be held accountable for results more meaningful than one test score.

    Fortunately, the Delaware State Education Association is led by those who remain teachers in classrooms, as opposed to those who sit in leather chairs and make lofty and fairly obscure decisions, many of which lack realistic knowledge of what students, classrooms and the reformed curriculums are really like.

    I extend a challenge to every Delaware legislator to take the state eighth-grade tests in reading, writing and math and perform at the distinguished level. I then invite these people to complete the 10th-grade science and social studies tests as well and to see what kind of diplomas they might receive. Would the public and business community consider these representatives qualified for their roles without substantial retraining?

    From the descriptions of the various accountability expectations of districts, administrators, teachers and students, I am always amazed at the brevity of the responsibilities of parents. Why are we so afraid to make parents more accountable for children’s success in school? Why are teachers not receiving higher salaries to take on the roles of social worker, guidance counselor and translator in many cases?

    Some schools are successful. I would suggest they are ones with strong support of the teachers and greater parental involvement. I invite legislators to sit in classrooms, go into the bathrooms or walk down the halls for a normal conversation during class change. Find out how much time each teacher spends on the phone with parents, or money on supplies not provided by administrations and parents.

    Teachers can have substantial influence on children, but our greatest enemy is time. There is not enough time to give many children what they need in order to be more successful. When what is taught in school is not supported at home, at least emotionally, we teachers struggle with accountability.

    I have an undergraduate degree in teaching secondary English, a master’s of instruction, a reading specialist certificate, participation in the Delaware reading and writing projects, an additional 30-some hours of graduate courses in my field, and over 17 years of teaching experience. The state wants to suggest that I may not be highly qualified. I know a master teacher who has taught all grade levels, speaks Spanish, is National Board certified, a technological wizard and a trained administrator who is also not considered highly qualified.

    It is not that DSEA does not want to support or participate in education reform that will help children better succeed. We live with the problems every day. We understand the frustrations. New measures cannot continue to be at the expense of teachers’ well-being.

    I disagree with your editors’ position on school reform. Like Mascitti, I too think we have once again spent millions of dollars to slam into a brick wall.

    Ann Darden, Georgetown

    Yeah, I know- I’m slipping. But, hey, it’s Friday.

    One Response to “A LETTER FROM THE OTHER SIDE”

    Comment by
    September 17th, 2004
    at 10:05 am

    “When what is taught in school is not supported at home, at least emotionally, we teachers struggle with accountability.”

    When the kids underperform (inner city), they blame it on the families, when the kids outperform (suburbs), the government takes all the credit. I just love school districts that take kids from upper middle class homes and then brag about how wonderful the schools in the district. Shoot, anyone can turn a silk purse into a silk purse.