Saturday, March 30, 2013

Unintended Consequences

One of the unintended consequences of the emphasis on testing in the education reform movement is an increase in cheating.  Yesterday, the superintendent of Atlanta public schools and 34 other educators were indicted on charges of misconduct in the administration of standardized testing.

I don't believe in absolving individuals of personal decisions.  What these educators did, if proven, is wrong and embarrassing to the public education community.

Yet, the pressures unleashed by good intentions in trying to improve student learning have wrought all sorts of negative results--an increase in cheating is just one of them.  Narrowing the curriculum, eliminating or reducing recesses, devaluing the role of the fine arts, siphoning money away from curriculum development to professional development, and inculcating in the American public's mind that teaching can be reduced to a number are all examples.

It is time for our state and national education organizations to disavow the educational reform movement, to unmask it for what it is--namely, a phenomenally misguided and damaging assault on the teaching profession and the institution of public education.

We need to stop trying, as teachers are always prone to do, to make it work, make do, make lemonade from lemons--which is what we've been doing for twenty years--and finally array our organization, communication, and money in support of the teaching profession and the institution of public education.

There is a time for compromise and there is a time for conviction.


3 dozen indicted in Atlanta cheating scandal

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