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Posted by on in Education Leadership

Just my Opinion, but….

JUST SAY NO to standardized testing. It’s time. Right before elections it’s turning into a political football, local, state and federal. At the national level, the leap to ‘for profit’ schools, slaps us into the face of reality.

Tests. Lower the bar, fix or dump the tests? A conundrum. Is the bar too high? If no kids can reach that bar, what’s next? Same thing, same results, right? Or what? Is this the way to judge schools, teachers and children’s future success in our changing landscape? Does rigor insure academic success? I think not.

Something is more than a little off kilter, the ship is going out to sea in the wrong direction. In fact, we are bailing water out of this boat. New ship needed! Let’s stop being on the Titanic, rearranging deck chairs.

Because I am an optimistic person by nature, and always see the good in things, or nearly, I am confident we can turn the tide here, as a collective voice. Because policy makers usually have not been teachers, or even spent any time in a classroom, the new wave of teacher educators running for political office at all levels is heartening.

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Posted by on in Assessment

shareasimage 18I've been studying a lot lately. I modeled life-long learning this past year by learning the mac, basic technology and social media, well some. If I am unleashed in Pinterest, I will undoubtedly end up in the vortex, as I have Twitter. I've been having a blast connecting with people I hadn't seen in years, on FB, and doing a unique professional page. 

My assessment of my learning is about a 'C'. I can do the basic things I need to, and ask for help, just like the kiddos. Continual formative asessment. In my case there isn't a summative, I would expect. The internet offered me opportunity to learn from the best professionals around. Unimaginable, with no cell phone or social media I traveled the United States teaching in way over 500 classrooms, hauling my suitcases and a training trunk. 

While Principal, we turned around a high poverty school and had visitors from all over. But we never got the big test scores. It was fomative assessment that carried us through, from our shared hopes and aspirations to digging deep inside ourselves, regaining or discovering our passions and learning to share. By summative standards that school would be in Improvement status today. Only we knew, and the kids.

Right now with mostly positive changes in the laws, this is a perfect time speak out loudly as Dr. King and other great leaders taught us to do. Our actions are sorely needed to make adaptations that are real and substantial, to shift that pendulum back a bit to the middle, at least, and forge ahead for the common good. Time-tested strategies that we know work, within new paradigms of technology and unscripted, genuine developmentally appropriate pedagogy make sense to me. Programs come and go, kids and skills remain the same. ALWAYS have.

Unless we are teachers, teach with teachers, hang out in their rooms or listen to them as a society, teachers are simply going to burn out by January or leave this grand profession. I keep reading about teacher shortages. Today's teacher is the ultimate professional. Principals instill optimism in their collective staffs, lead by modeling and know that the school's culture, climate and morale is the beginning of any foundation for success. 

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