Latest posts by Joy Pullmann (see all)
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Here’s another item for our series lately about how growing federal control of education is creating a wave of discontent: A group of Obama-supporting teachers has begun to publicly request he stand down in increasing federal intrusion into education.
The maze of regulations and requirements is only increasing as the Obama administration continues to push national standards and tests tied to them, and many teachers can’t take it any more, for some despite their support for the president.
Here are some poignant excerpts (emphasis added):
I am a college professor and was able to rally legions of students in support as well. However, if the decisions of [President Obama’s] nominated representatives continue to favor high-stakes testing for teacher and student accountability, I will find a new candidate to support in 2012.
I was a teacher for 30 years and… felt accountable for every child in my class and measured their progress often, not with a state-mandated grade level test but with assessments based on the content I had taught. When NCLB became law and the consequences of inadequate yearly progress (measuring two unequal groups of students) became dire, I was forced to abandon the methods I believed in for fear my students would not do well enough on the tests. When I moved on to two different charter schools to help with aligning curriculum to the state standards I saw the same results — less innovation and more standardization resulting in less inspired teaching. I decided to opt for early retirement in 2009, discouraged by what I saw happening in Washington.
I am retired from teaching in elementary school in one of the “low-performing” schools. We missed our goal by a tiny percentage in this high-stakes testing charade. We are not teaching science or social studies due to your policies.
Of course, many of these same dissatisfied teachers would support other centralizing education policies rather than the tests-and-regulations policies of the same breed. It’s likely they would support much higher education spending with much looser strings, when instead a better approach would be to reduce spending (federal education spending has tripled in the past fifty years to no rise in test scores) and, consequently, strings. At the same time, this does show that even ideological liberals can’t knock education reality: more federal control of education means greater frustration for teachers, administrators, parents, and students.
Now, beware one other thing: many liberal educators and commentators oppose tests because they reveal the sickly insides of our education system. If schools are to receive vast public funds, they ought prove they’re returning something for those taxpayer dollars. And standardized tests are the most logical and simple way to accomplish that.
All the more reason to give schools AND taxpayers more freedom by making schools accountable to parents and students, not the federal government.