Lance Scranton: Pouring hearts, minds into teaching
March 18, 2014
The younger generation is falling behind! Standardized test (ACT, SAT) scores have dropped and we are in crisis mode, scurrying about enacting legislation to get the kids up to the standards of the world they will have to compete with in this 21st century.
So we test kids to make sure we hold schools and teachers accountable for teaching the students the important, relevant knowledge that will keep them competitive in the global community and we adopt, adapt and advance a curriculum that will have the most impact on our children so they can make smart decisions and be informed about their future.
Sounds good! But what if it wasn't as simple as recognizing a problem and providing a solution? What if the scores reported on standardized testing were a bit more "informative" than just slapping an "indicator" on each school?
TCAP, MAPS, SAT and ACT scores all are important for measuring the "standard" level of learning among student populations. Most of our students are intelligent, motivated and are learning, but testing is inherently biased. Today, we test a diverse population of students unlike the historical test-takers who were the best students with the best chance of going on to college.
Common Core offers a solution because the standards help inform our teaching practice and give teachers a more standardized approach to passing on important concepts and knowledge. Learning the facts that are important for being educated is not a new thing and the inadequacies of our educational system is fraught with the dangers of what we omit more than what we include in our instruction.
Regardless, testing will continue and education reformed, but through it all, teachers will pour their hearts and minds into making a difference in the lives of kids. Public education will be roundly criticized with the legislative and verbal pounding surely to continue. Yet people, myself included, still will determine that a career helping students learn is a worthwhile cause.