Thursday, March 31, 2011

It’s the “De-Professionalization of Teaching in America; Obama Against his Own School Testing Policy?

Two important notes on education in America: At a time when Republicans, tea party groups and conservatives insist businesses need high pay and benefits to attract the best and brightest, they are also arguing for lower pay and benefits to public employees and teachers, an amazing philosophical contradiction to say the least. Does that mean we don't want to attract the best and brightest teachers?

That said, the first story deals with the lack of teacher vilification in every country kicking our educational ass. The second story reveals Barack Obama’s put down of too much testing in our schools, a direct contradiction of his educational policy:
Edweek: Stanford professor Linda Darling-Hammond, who also attended the International Summit on Teaching in New York last week, has posted a blog post highlighting positive rhetoric used by the foreign guests in reference to teachers. 
In a statement rarely heard these days in the United States, the Finnish Minister of Education launched the first session of last week's with the words: "We are very proud of our teachers." And at the roundtable discussions, she writes, there was "no teacher-bashing, no discussion of removing collective bargaining rights, no proposals for reducing preparation for teaching, no discussion of closing schools or firing bad teachers, and no proposals for ranking teachers based on their students' test scores." Instead, nations shared experiences on what works, such as high-quality preparation programs, federally funded training, and unions and governments working together. 
She contrasts this with "the growing de-professionalization of teaching in America."
Obama against too many tests in our public schools:
In a town hall meeting hosted by Univision, President Obama was asked by a student if there could be a way to reduce the number of tests that students must take. He replied:
"... we have piled on a lot of standardized tests on our kids. Too often what we've been doing is using these tests to punish students or to, in some cases, punish schools. And so … let's figure out whether we have to do it every year or whether we can do it maybe every several years … 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."

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