Those who can teach, those who cannot make laws about teaching. (And why standardized testing doesn't work.)
I love learning. I want to be a civil rights attorney when I grow up. However, every day my dream seems harder to reach. North Carolina lawmakers are destroying education, one law at a time. Last year NC lawmakers passed laws that suspended pay for teachers with master’s degrees, assistant teachers have been cut, charter schools only have to have 50% of their teachers licensed, taxpayer money is going towards vouchers to allow some students to go to private schools, and teacher tenure will be replaced with one, two, or four year contracts by 2018. Wonderful teachers are leaving in swarms, but can we blame them? I would leave too.
My personal favorite is schools in NC will be judged based on state exams. Many countries have shunned standardized tests, including Finland who has one of the best education systems in the world. North Carolina along with the rest of America continues to use them to judge our students, teachers, and schools. That isn’t right. Standardized testing doesn’t work, and will never work. Here’s why…
1. What are we being tested on?: When I took MSLs last year and last semester, my teachers would say “Honestly, we don’t know what’s going to be on the test. We need to do our best.” The tests are inconsistent, one year they test on this subject, the next something different. To top it off how can we prepare ourselves if we don’t know what we are going to be tested on?
2. Those dang lazy liberal teachers! Blame them! They did this! Wrong. I’m so annoyed by this argument. I see plenty of ‘perfect’ students who come in to school every day and say “I’m not doing this” “I didn’t do my homework because I didn’t want to” “I don’t want to learn”. Education takes willing students. Sometimes teachers can instill motivation in their students, sometimes they can’t. If you’re upset by your child’s test grades, look at them first. Are they doing their homework or playing a video game? With roughly 30 students’, teachers are supposed to be educators, and role models. Not babysitters that makes sure homework is done and they study every night, that’s your job. More specifically you shouldn’t need to tell your high school student to study, let them be independent. This is a small percentage, some students have more problems than an algebra teacher can solve.
3. We can be judged our teachers off test scores, right?: Wrong again. According to fairest.org, teachers influence only accounts for 7.5% to 20% of a student’s test score. Out of school factors influence test scores greatly, poverty, abusive home life, absent parents, disability, etc. Recent studies have shown correlations with low income and low test scores.
4. MSLs once again! When I walked in my testing room to take my Algebra Two MSL, I noticed that my usual teacher wasn’t in the room, another teacher was and students were already excited about cheating. Yes, cheating. How is this possible? Every MSL was the exact same. Same questions, in the same order. Good job, NC test makers.
5. Some things a test can’t measure: Wisdom. Motivation. Empathy. Love. Intelligence. A test can’t measure that. A test can’t measure the impact on a student when they actually “gets it”. A test can’t measure the bond that a teacher has with their students. A test can’t measure the moment when a student finally realizes their potential.
Dear Pat McCrory, you don't need a standardized test to measure your efficiency as governor. You already failed us.