Friday, March 10, 2017

NYC Educator: Happy Students Learn More and Happy Teachers Teach Better

NYC Educator: Happy Students Learn More and Happy Teachers Teach Better:

Happy Students Learn More and Happy Teachers Teach Better

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I wish I could tell you I thought of that title, but it's a direct quote from Texas superintendent John Kuhn. Don't you wish all superintendents thought that way? Imagine looking toward being productive and helpful rather than vindictive and petty. I know, it's asking a lot, but it's kind of common sense. Of course, there's a Spanish saying that common sense is the least common of all the senses, and I must say I'm a subscriber to that train of thought.

Every day I read articles everywhere on the perfidy of teachers. We don't want to work. We get health benefits and we don't deserve them. Our jobs are easy. We should get rid of all those messy certification requirements and let just anyone do it. Let's judge teachers by test scores. Let's ignore the fact that this is utter nonsense and never, ever question whether the tests are even valid. Let's assume that Moses carried the tests from Mt. Sinai alongside the Ten Commandments. Let's open charter schools because they're all about saving the children. Public schools are dropout factories. 

It's tough for us because if you just read these pieces and take them at face value, the arguments appear to not be insane. But when you're in the classroom each and every day, you see things the bureaucrats don't. You see things the papers don't. When some genius in Albany decides that teachers shouldn't grade the tests of their own students it might make sense. After all, if teachers are rated by the tests, they have an incentive to juke the stats.

Now that's true. But why are we being rated by tests when the American Statistical Association says teachers change test scores by a factor of 1-14%? Of course there's that assumption that we're crooks. Now I will freely admit that I want my kids to do well in my classes and on tests. But that only means I'll help. It doesn't mean I'll cheat. Of course, if I were in Albany, where they lower the bar when they want to make NYC Educator: Happy Students Learn More and Happy Teachers Teach Better:





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