Thursday, October 29, 2015

So what if teachers hate No Child Left Behind? - The Washington Post

So what if teachers hate No Child Left Behind? - The Washington Post:

So what if teachers hate No Child Left Behind?

On a warm September evening along coastal Georgia, Lily Eskelsen García, the face of 3 million teachers, paused to balance another plate of fried chicken and shake another hand. It was early evening and she was standing in a room at the Savannah Arts Academy, surrounded by parents, teachers and students.
For 12 hours, García, president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, had been visiting schools, taking photos with teachers and chatting up students. Now it was time to give The Speech, the one about how standardized testing has ruined public education.
“No Child Left Untested is an unmitigated disaster that has hurt kids for 13 years,” she said, referring to the Bush-era law that relied on test scores to measure progress at disadvantaged schools and to evaluate teachers. “It’s reduced what teachers are supposed to do to what will fit on a standardized test, and I don’t know one kid in the world who comes that way. Shame on us if we can’t find a better solution.”
The Speech was virtually the same at the other stops. She never used notes. She looked at ease, smiled and made eye contact. Before and after The Speech, she always asked students: What do you love about your school?

Her two-week back-to-school Opportunity for All Tour was a listening tour, photo op and pep rally blended together. Last year, she did her first tour in California. She said she chose to head south this year because “this is where so many inequities still exist.”
In 19 stops in four Southern states, and in various town halls and television interviews, what García kept digging at was: What makes a school a community hub where teachers and students can thrive?
She asked what kids loved about their schools to show how absurd it was to believe test scores could ever fully capture a school’s strengths and challenges.
The answers usually ran along the lines of “I love my teacher.” She tweeted one student’s response that his instructor’s teaching “makes us feel like we are in paradise.”
That may sound corny, but pumping up teachers is part of García’s job, just as much as fighting back against their critics, although she is often more consumed by the latter.
García is the face of the union’s year-old campaign against “toxic testing.” Teachers nationwide say the imperatives of high-stakes testing have robbed So what if teachers hate No Child Left Behind? - The Washington Post: