Are teachers under too much pressure from “war rooms” and constant scrutiny?

Many teachers have commented on the increased push in their schools to raise test scores, saying that unrelenting and often unreasonable expectations were causing them to reconsider the profession.

AJC reporter Heather Vogell talked to teachers about the pressure, including “war rooms” where student scores are posted as a constant prod to teachers. (I would like to personally thank the teachers from this blog who talked to Heather for her story.)

According to the story:

In a room in Atlanta’s East Lake Elementary, students’ testing stats are on display like baseball players’ batting averages. The “data room, ” or “war room, ” lays out district goals for the school. Staff can see at a glance how many students can fail state tests — and how many must score in the top tier — to make the numbers. Other Atlanta schools use variations of the setup.

The displays are a product of the data-driven approach pushed by Atlanta Superintendent Beverly Hall. But for teachers such as Julie Rogers-Martin, the rooms serve a second, more ominous function.

“It’s a visual pressure all the time, ” she said. “It’s always in your face. It’s always a cause for concern.”

The pressure Atlanta educators such as Rogers-Martin face is rooted in a complex set of district testing goals that are harder to reach than those set by the state.

The system has rewarded school staff who were successful with nearly $17 million in bonuses since 2001. Hitting testing targets carried career and social benefits, too.

But now, the state is asking whether some schools took shortcuts to net those impressive scores.

A state probe last month identified suspicious erasures on state tests in more than two-thirds of Atlanta’s elementary and middle schools. Far more schools were flagged in Atlanta — 58 — than in any other district.

Who erased wrong answers and whether they did so to cheat is under investigation. But experts say pressure from hard-to-reach work goals and financial incentives can be a trigger for fraud.

The district-imposed testing goals are the greatest source of educators’ angst, some teachers say. In some schools, they say, making the numbers has upstaged the teaching and learning they are supposed to represent.

“You are under scrutiny every minute, ” said Rogers-Martin, a fourth-grade teacher at Burgess-Peterson Elementary.

District Deputy Superintendent Kathy Augustine said the district’s data-focused approach is crucial for helping students learn. The targets aim to help educators zero in on students’ academic needs.

“Using data to drive instruction is a best practice. Data is something our parents ask for, it’s something the majority of our teachers want, ” Augustine said. “I think we expect our teachers to be high performers.”

Thirteen of 22 elementary and middle schools that received bonuses for meeting testing targets last year also showed up on the state’s “severe” list of schools with high numbers of suspicious erasures.

On the issue of pressure, I wanted to share a conversation I had with a longtime teacher. She said she got into teaching because she liked working with children more than adults. She liked closing her classroom door and controlling her own little universe with rare interference from administrators.

That, she told me, has changed completely. Now, administrators are in her classroom. They are talking to her about student progress. They are suggesting new ways of doing things.  She admits that part of the pressure she feels comes from the drastic changes in the profession and in education overall. She became accustomed to calling the shots and having very little interaction with her bosses.

She does not think the pressure is as great on younger teachers who entered the field under the new accountability rules and expect to have weekly meetings where they review each child’s progress with their principals.

Does the pressure on teachers stem in part from a changing world order where student data rather than teachers drive the classroom?

And is that always bad?

59 comments Add your comment

Seen it all

March 29th, 2010
10:52 am

I think all of this “data driven instruction” and other nonsense focusing on test scores is ridiculous. Personally and professionally I don’t see the point and I have seen it all!!!

In the end, it really doesn’t make a difference. The students don’t learn any more with “data walls” and “data teams”. It just creates more work for the teacher. And it gives administrators an opportunity to pound the chests and pretend like they are doing something.

B. Killebrew

March 29th, 2010
11:00 am

Yep, what Seen it all said…

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Joy in Teaching

March 29th, 2010
11:09 am

OMG! YES! YES! YES! The stress that teachers are under to up those scores is dreadful. Every single meeting that we go go, we are reminded of those numbers. Every single teacher in my school as the school’s instructional goals posted at least twice in their classroom. We can recite them in our sleep.

What is really bad is that the numbers are based on last year’s students. For instance, the 8th grade writing goal for my school in the Meets/Exceeds category is 87%. That is 5 percentage points higher than last year’s 8th grade writing goal. Why is it we are expected to increase the goal 5 percentage points on an entirely different group of students? It’s the whole comparing apples to oranges.

I’m not really sure what will happen if my school hits the 100% mark. Will we be placed on the NI list because we can’t improve any more? That’s the way the NCLB law is written, in any case.

Schools are no longer in the business of teaching students: they are in the numbers racket. As long as those students reach a predetermined number, then all is good in the eyes of administrators and the county office.

Clarence

March 29th, 2010
11:26 am

Without commenting on the pros or cons of any of the recent changes impacting the teaching profession, I will just say that I think we will be facing a SEVERE teacher shortage a few years down the road. Many of the benefits of an underappreciated profession are eroding, and increasing demands are going to make it an even less-desirable career path.

Teacher, Too

March 29th, 2010
11:32 am

I am over this data-driven assessment. Why do I need to keep a notebook to determine what my students know and don’t know? Isn’t that what my gradebook shows? If a student fails a test over a particular topic, shouldn’t that number suffice as evidence that said student didn’t master the standard(s)?

In effect, teachers being asked to replicate their gradebooks to prove that their teaching is data-driven = unncecssary and time-consuming paperwork.

I think the next time I’m asked to show my admin my “data notebook,” I’m just going to print a copy of my grades and let that suffice. I’m sure I’ll get in trouble for it, though.

Vince

March 29th, 2010
11:40 am

Yes…and so are administrators and school districts at large. Educators keep hoping someone in government will wake up and change the absurd parts of NCLB.

NCLB assumes no one has cognitive deficits. It assumes all kids need is “good instruction” to miraculously overcome brain damage or low IQ.

NCLB assumes immigrant children can catch up in math and science within 8 months and for all other subjects within 20 months. Let me ask everyone something. How many of you think you could move to China and then pass a grade level math test that is all word problems….written in Chinese…within 8 months?

Guardian Angel

March 29th, 2010
11:49 am

The following statement is a bunch of bull.

“Data is something our parents ask for, it’s something the majority of our teachers want, ” Augustine said.

As a parent I have not asked for nor has any other parent that I have spoken with asked for data. Most parents do not even know who to interpret the data.

Been there done that

March 29th, 2010
12:11 pm

Yep, we have one of those “data rooms” in my elementary school. I work with many of the kids whose names are on that wall. It’s the same kids who get ESOL help, have been in 5 different schools the last two years, never have their homework, don’t get their daily “I practiced my math facts” sheet signed by a parent, etc. I work hard, but there’s only so much I can do. Sometimes, kids just don’t have the IQ, the help from home, or the motivation to overcome their deficiencies.

Dan

March 29th, 2010
12:24 pm

I would think in high performing schools the visual display would be motivating, and could be in poorly performing schools if properly communicated. All I see on this blog is resistence to any kind of measurements or standards. and Vince NCLB doesn’t dictate any specifics, what they dictate is that the local schools set standards and stick to them. Just sad how people attribute anything they don’t agree with to ole Teddys program

LSH

March 29th, 2010
12:28 pm

One of the few things that I really enjoyed about teaching was the ability to close the door and work my magic in the classroom. That made up for so much crap doled out to use on a daily basis by the administration, parents and media. Take that away, and you have a low-paying, low respect , endless senseless paperwork driven job that is not about learning or instiling the love of learning in a child. Brow beating a child to fill in the right bubble is not teaching. But as long as our jobs and the administrators jobs are based on that- we will have to keep doing it. Parents- step up!! We cannot do it all by ourselves. DEMAND that your elected officals allow us to do our jobs- teach and inspire your children. NCLB- Teacher don’t like it, Kids hate it, parents don’t like it, adminstrators don’t like it- WHY ARE WE DOING IT????

taxpayingcitizen

March 29th, 2010
12:37 pm

Well how about Data Rooms that display data from benchmark tests that are poorly created? Of course I am talking about those wonderful instructional coaches that were told to create benchmark tests to give them something to do. You have to justify doling out that stimulus money somehow. Where is the taxpayer outrage over instructional coaches?

taxpayingcitizen

March 29th, 2010
12:38 pm

love it

March 29th, 2010
12:47 pm

read the article about B. Hall getting a 78k bonus, she gets all of the reward and none of the blame for cheating. Man, she has a sweet ride, and soaking GA taxpayers for all that money.

B. Killebrew

March 29th, 2010
12:53 pm

Yep. What Clarence said…

Dan

March 29th, 2010
12:59 pm

LSH now I am not trying to start and argument, but seriously if someone is truly working magic in the classroom and the kids are truly learning the curriculum, wouldn’t those students succeed on a test without the browbeating bubble filling method? Clearly they would need some guidance in testing strategy and tactics but it seems to me that teaching the test is a cop out. Regardless of the teaching manner if the material is learned the test is easy (for most)

Brad

March 29th, 2010
1:22 pm

pressure? please….here is the deal. I teach my students the curriculum. They take the tests. They pass or they fail. I sleep fine at night knowing I gave them every opportunity to learn the material. That bunch moves out and another takes their place next year. Teachers that stress over some test score crack me up. Your gonna get paid either way.

Kira Willis

March 29th, 2010
1:27 pm

The instructional coaches and graduation coaches and data teams need these war rooms and data rooms and paperwork and meetings and seminars and more meetings so that they can justify their jobs. Imagine how much money could be given to actual instruction if all of the positions that had little or no contact with students were eliminated? For that matter, what if administrators were required to teach one class a day? I think that things would change…quickly.

Tony

March 29th, 2010
1:40 pm

Data is not the teacher’s enemy. The importance of data can not be overstated. However, school leaders have become so enthralled with “data” that some aspects of its use have spiralled out of control. Before entering education, i was a chemist. Needless to say, the importance of data was critical to the quality of work I did.

However, in schools, you are working with children. The data gained from one time tests must be kept in perspective. One of the downfalls of the use of data occurs when the numbers are used to OVERGENERALIZE. There are so many factors that influence the scores students make on tests, it is impossible to draw any single, valid conclusion about anything.

If you drop a feather and a brick from a second–story balcony at the same time, they will not hit the ground at the same time. The easy conclusion is that the feather is lighter than the brick, so it falls more slowly. But this is the wrong explanation. The person drawing the conclusion used a simple snapshot of the situation without looking for additional factors that also affect the outcome. This is one of the phenomena happening with the use of data in schools.

In the cases where test results are used to determine bonuses, doesn’t the open wide the door for fraud? yes. What does this say about pay for performance? Besides, children are so much more than a test score. We need to wake up and realize that this love affair with tests and numbers does not tell us the true picture of student learning. There are more things to learn than those things that you can ask on a multiple choice test.

where did this model start?

March 29th, 2010
2:48 pm

Who is the grp that started this data driven model? Was it some professor, politican, or number cruncher that has never been in a class room. Like Bush’s sec. of education (Margret Spellings) the Nazi of NCLB/AYP.

Dan

March 29th, 2010
2:53 pm

Um NCLB was driven by Ted Kennedy, but it was a bipartisan effort. (actually one of the better things Teddy has done, or at best less damaging than others) and even so remember NCLB and indeed federal funding have little to no impact on what happens in local schools. Fed funding only accounts for about 7% of school budgets

Elizabeth

March 29th, 2010
3:09 pm

Dan: IF you were allowed to “close your door and work your magic” as teachers used to be able to do when I started teaching– then you would be correct. Unfortunately now we have a curriculum that tells us what page to be on on what day, how to teach the material, and how long to spend on it. Those who try to do more and to really TEACH are told to move on and get with the program. We are told what ewrminology to use and how to explain the material. Never mind if they do not get it in the time olimit set for them.

Brad– No they can’t. The students today cannot make the transfer to a different format– they have not been taught to think– only to memorize and take the test. If yuo use a different word than they are used to they cannot puzzle it out. So no they cannot do this unless yo are allowed to “close your door and work the magic”. And you are not.

As for data– data itself is not the enemy. Teachers have always used it. But data rooms and comparisons between different groups and teachers and this obsessive desire to reach a certain mark– these are the enemies of teachers. I can look at test scores and my grade book and know how my kids are doing and what I need to do to help them. All the reat is wasted time and efforet and pressure. And wait till merit pay gets here. There will be a teacher shortage down the road when the economy picks up. Count on it.

@ Dan

March 29th, 2010
3:13 pm

I teach 1st grade. My students have been doing practice tests for quite some time that they fail often. Have I taught the material? Yes. If you look at their independent classwork, they understand. When we go over the tests as a class, everyone knows the answers. However, during the test, they refuse to read it. They make guesses and put their heads down. When the actual CRCT comes, it always happens in the 2nd half of the test. After 50 questions asking the same thing, they no longer care. That is just one of MANY problems w/ assuming that “Regardless of the teaching manner if the material is learned the test is easy (for most)”.

Dan

March 29th, 2010
3:40 pm

Elizabeth – fair enough, but that is a different argument than simply panning the testing and goal orientation, but it seems to me if “really teaching” acheived the results the admins would be perfectly happy to push that method. Maybe there is some middle ground but the problems are not identified very well (or at least the definitions are not agreed on, and as the saying goes an undefined problem has an infinite number of solutions

@Dan – clearly there are different or should be different criteria for 1st grade. As I thought about the problem I was envisioning jr high/ Hi I think for older kids at some point they need to learn about stress and doing things they don’t like but are necessary. Real life gets there before you know it

Teaching in FL is worse

March 29th, 2010
4:19 pm

I guess ABC really does mean Always Be Closing!

Booklover

March 29th, 2010
4:22 pm

I got into teaching because I love teaching, I love intellectual work, and I like helping kids.

However, the increasing busywork/ paperwork that we as teachers have to complete is not only draining and a bad use of our time, but also it’s insulting. Instead of spending time creating fun, educationally vibrant lessons for my entire class, I spend lots of time filling out paperwork for the two or three kids who clearly don’t give a %^&*, just so that I can cover my ^%^&* if/when those students fail. Don’t get me wrong–I am more than willing to help those kids, and it’s very rare that I give up on a student—but that said, we are wasting valuable resources on the types of kids who don’t care much about learning and, frankly, probably won’t amount to much. We are shifting resources from the average kid, the hard-working kid, the interested kid, the gifted kid, etc., to these less motivated kids in some sort of CYA game. By the time I’m done with all my paperwork, done grading according to the standards (do you know how LONG it takes to grade high school essays?), I’m exhausted and have little energy for lesson planning.

Then the teacher gets pinpointed/blamed, etc., when those two or three less motivated students fail the test. Doesn’t matter that the rest did wonderfully, that most kids are learning. It’s simply a numbers game.

When the economy turns around (whenever that actually happens), there will be huge teacher shortage unless things change quickly. The other issue is, you need to ask: what type of person wants to teach in this environment? Intelligent, intellectually stimulating individuals (which is what teachers should be) are not going to last long in this “teaching” environment of busywork, CYA, teach to the test, parrot the reading script like a robot nonsense.

FC teacher

March 29th, 2010
4:45 pm

Here’s some data we should collect on each student (on a 100-point scale is fine) and display alongside the test scores:

Focuses in class
Takes notes
Asks questions when they don’t understand
Completes classwork
Completes homework, projects, essays, study guides, etc.
Studies for tests
Reads for pleasure
Has responsible adult supervision at home after school
Knows there will be food at home
Knows they are safe at home
Has an adult at home who will make them sit down and do homework
Has an adult at home who urges them to do their best work
Has an adult at home who values higher education
Lives in a home without substance abuse
Lives in a home without physical or emotional abuse
Speaks English
Has parents who speak English
Has parents who are not at risk of being deported
Has parents who are not at risk of being jailed
Has parents who spend unstructured free time with them
Has parents who love them and show it through their actions, not their purchases
Has effective teachers who can explain lessons in ways that students can understand
Has teachers who will help them when they don’t understand

Critical care nurse mom

March 29th, 2010
5:01 pm

Tony- you’re right- data is not the teacher’s enemy and neither is scrutiny if handled well.. and, Yes- I DO want to see data about how well my child’s schoool and teachers perform. Here’s just a little ditty from real life…when I started nursing, visitors were not allowed in the units to visit their loved ones, except for very strictly observed and carefully supervised visits. No one had any idea what we did. Sometime in the early 80’s, someone came up with the bright idea that it would be good to have almost totally open visiting hours. WHOA! What a BAD idea…should have heard all the screaming about not being able to provide good patient care, visitors would be underfoot and always interfering…and the excuses went on forever. I was right in there with those protesting loudly and positive that it was an insane idea. But,we lost the battle to customer pressure and in the visitors came. Well, lo and behold, it wasn’t long at all before I came to love it. When family members watched me at work and saw how well I cared for their loved one, how efficient, smart, and meticulous I was and how much the patients meant to me, they relaxed, asked a few questions and went home to get the rest they so badly needed. All the anger and angst and frustration left because they trusted me..and in such a way, I was caring for the visitor,s too. In addition, annual formal evaluations were done on the hospitals and the specific units- frustrating, at time, our merit increases were affected by the results…but we learned a lot each time and constantly made changes that made the patients and families more comfortable. While not easy for us and sometimes really aggravating-the good outweighs the bad-because in the end,taking good care of the patient and family was our goal and our mission. My point is, it can be the same way with teachers, too. Any teacher who communicates with me and shows expertise and a desire to teach my child, puts me at ease. The ones with the control-freak, stay-out-of-my-business attitudes anger and frustrate and generally don’t teach well, either. Don’t worry if you don’t have anything to worry about….

Critical care nurse mom

March 29th, 2010
5:04 pm

Maureen-arrgh!! blog filter is SO frustrating!

Teach ME

March 29th, 2010
5:54 pm

Agree 100% to Critical Care Nurse Mom! How bad can it be to identify students that are struggling, provide additional instruction, and document the results? How bad can it be to expect teachers to teach ALL students, not just the ones that have supportive parents, who are well fed, and put to bed on time. Wouldn’t teachers learn something by working together to educate students rather than shutting their doors and working in isolation? I absolutely believe so!

AR

March 29th, 2010
5:58 pm

Oh, well said, FC Teacher! Well said! Now that’s where the rubber hits the road. Want to talk about real learning? You must take all those factors into account.

AR

March 29th, 2010
6:02 pm

Critical Care and Teach ME: Try teaching for a year or two, then come back and post. You’d have a whole different understanding. You’d swear you never wrote the comments above.

What you said sounds great on paper, but teaching is not like you think it is.

Of course, logically, you cannot know this any more than we teachers can know what it is like to do critical care or the job of a policeman. It is amazing how little we all know about the work others do.

hello.life

March 29th, 2010
6:22 pm

Teach Me: You can shove information down a student’s throat but you can’t forcibly make him “learn.” The learning process has to be a two way one.

Take this job and

March 29th, 2010
6:42 pm

Anyone see the video message we all received today from our superintendent? Beverly Hall sent out this ridiculous video to employees today, and I’m betting it’s because of Heather’s article. I’ll see if I can post it here. It was a lot of phony smiles and “we are behind you (teachers)”
I don’t want you behind me! I cannot WAIT until the end of May when I can proudly say I no longer have any connection to such a horrid school system.
APS needs an overhaul. Start with Beverly.

Take this job and

March 29th, 2010
6:43 pm

Take this job and

March 29th, 2010
6:46 pm

While I am waiting on my last post to get kicked out of the filter (that thing is sooo annoying btw) I’d like to thank the teacher who gave her name to the AJC. How very brave of you!

ScienceTeacher671

March 29th, 2010
6:56 pm

How many students come to class each day without even basic supplies? No pencil, no paper, no calculator. Our school even bought calculators for the students so they wouldn’t have any excuse not to have one – all they have to do is go to the media center and check one out for the semester. Some students won’t do that, some have overdue book fines and can’t check anything else out, some lost the calculators they checked out, and some just won’t bring them to class.

If teachers could just open the students’ little heads and pour the knowledge in, that would be one thing, but education does require a bit of cooperation and effort from the one who is supposed to be learning. Too often, we’re not getting it.

Data strangled

March 29th, 2010
7:07 pm

I don’t think the new data-driven model is bad at all. We need data to make informed decisions and to alter courses if they are not on target. The problem is that the data has become the target rather than the education and inspiration of students. For the first time in my life, I am beginning to feel as the failing student, who goes to school each day with hopes to succeed, hopes to make some sense out of his pile of numbers, papers, feelings, and frustrations. But, the work stacks up, and the waves of expectation, frustrations, and even recrimination, drown any inspiration I try so desperately to feel.

Dr. Hall, your teachers are high performers. I am honored to work and learn from so many creative and caring APS teachers. But, we are not robots. Teaching well is an art! Yes, it does need to be informed and data driven—but not data strangled. Give us adequate time, encouragement, and support, and our students will be high achievers too, but expecting miracles overnight, and putting more pressure on, even when targets are met–you are asking for robotics. Keep it up, and there will be no creative teachers left behind—in APS.

Sarah

March 29th, 2010
7:22 pm

Are teachers under too much pressure? ABSOLUTLEY! I found the following paragraph from yesterday’s article quite interesting:
Asked about the complaints, Schiller said a narrow focus on numbers – and threats from school leaders – aren’t supposed to be part of the target program. Ideally, he said, a principal introduces targets at the beginning of the year and lays out a plan for improving student work. From then on, he said, talk should center on what’s happening in classrooms, not on targets.

My administrators evidently do not understand the target program. Targets are discussed weekly in my school. Teachers who fail to make targets during previous years are scolded and reminded during every staff meeting that they didn’t meet the system’s testing goals. The tactics are threatening and intimidating. More time is spent creating spreadsheets and target tracking forms than preparing effective lessons.

Teachers should be held accountable for student learning in their classes, however, the targets need to be based on realistic data, not numbers based on where adminstration wishes our students would perform. The question that needs to be asked is, “Have the teacher’s students made reasonable academic gains by the end of the school year ?” Well, even that question can be scrutinized if we question whether the previous year’s test scores are valid.

I sincerely hope that APS will admit that there is a problem, work tirelessly to correct the problem, and get on with the important task of educating the children. I know many talented teachers who are dedicated to educating our children. However, APS runs the risk of losing them if systemic changes don’t take place ASAP.

Sarah

March 29th, 2010
7:32 pm

Thanks to the brave educator who shared her story with AJC. I hope more teachers come forward. If more people tell their stories the distict can’t ignore the issues and concerns.

Ms. Unbelievable

March 29th, 2010
7:44 pm

Took the words out of my mouth! We as teachers feel intimidated and pressured on a daily basis. This frustration is filtering down to the kids……Sometimes, the expectations and work load forces the teachers to work 12 hour or more days. Thanks to the teachers who came forward, the country should be aware of the pressures, hardships, and intimidation that teachers experience on a daily basis. Remember…happy teachers, produce happy environments!!!

Critical care nurse mom

March 29th, 2010
8:04 pm

AR: sounds nice, except I have taught..so I DO know. In addition, we have lots of the same frustrations as you do…patients who can’t learn, patients who continue behaviors that are destructive no matter how hard you try to teach them, family members who enable the patient’s deadly behaviors, pressures on all sides to do more and more with less and less, expectations beyond super heros’ abilities, and 14 to 16 hour shifts- never knowing what time we will return when we leave home in the mornings…and on top of that, we have in our hands the responsibility of 1. making fast, critical decisions and assessments and making them right and 2. the very real risk of a devastating law suit, everytime we take care of a patient. So, yes, I do know of what I speak.

Liberated

March 29th, 2010
8:40 pm

You don’t have to feel intimidated. Not all administrators intimidate for results. Actually, the most effective ones, use community building, encouragement, and grass roots leadership to develop teachers and students. I used to be in a school that was run by intimidation and it was like a prison every day. Students and teachers couldn’t wait to get out. But some principals direct, encourage, and inspire in APS, and around the globe. My advice: If you’ve worked three years or more under intimidation, speak up, transfer, or get out. Or get the administrator out. There is another way! For those who can’t transfer–I’ll pray for you!

Data strangled

March 29th, 2010
8:42 pm

That sounds very much like teaching–without the lawsuits.

ClayCoFighter

March 29th, 2010
9:02 pm

Ah, FC teacher, thank you! As a former social worker, I can tell you that my students don’t have books in their home, have sad tales to tell about deportation, juvenile detention, parental arrest and constantly having to act like little adults. So the stress on them is harsh. Put that together with the pressure to get those scores (and any teacher who doesn’t feel it is either 1.in denial or 2. not really with the program, IMHO) and an entire school can get turned into a pressure cooker of push-push, of numbers before names, of statistics instead of people. As for some of the folks comments about non-English speakers, yeah, those are my students. They have many disadvantages, including the foolish belief that they can pass middle school math the year they arrive here (because after all you don’t have to read English to pass math, right?) And my performance is judged on how they do, God bless them. I pray that I don’t forget the sweet, beautiful people they are, because whether they get a 785 or an 850, they are deserving of everything I can give them. If that means analyzing data, then that’s fine. I just wish it was accurate sometimes. Hugs to all the other teachers in the front lines- God bless and good luck in April.

We All Need Help

March 29th, 2010
9:34 pm

It is so sad that education has come to this but what do you expect when everything is based on CRCT scores and AYP. Sad.

The big pretend

March 29th, 2010
10:13 pm

If they were even 1/100 as committed to discipline as they were to data rooms. But that might require being more committed to the futures of the students than a future bonus.

The big reason

March 29th, 2010
10:23 pm

Maybe there’s a reason they are more committed to data than discipline. You can’t fix discipline with an eraser.

Ole Guy

March 30th, 2010
6:36 am

Before proceeding, I am going to answer Maureen’s question: “…is that (student data driving the classroom) always bad”?

YES YES YES!

It’s not only bad, it’s terrible! First of all, this methodology invites…no, it begs…the suspected practice of test score manipulation. At the end of the day, while administrators go through the back-patting self-congratulatory tap dance, nothing is accomplished in terms of real student achievement. Secondly, there is only so much time in the 12 year educational pipeline. If X percent of students “get it”, while Y percent “miss the train”…OH WELL! As it is now, the potential “X” is held back so that the “Y” can be made to appear artificially ept rather than inept. All this so that money (which will never see the classroom) might line a pocket or two.

If the kid flunks…OH WELL! Our economy will always need menial laborers. If the kid decides, ON HIS/HER OWN, to get with the program (something which only their teacher can determine, NOT THE PARENTS…NOT THE PRINCIPALS…NOT THE GOOD HUMOR MAN), fine…post the results, re-organize the class, re-teach the material, and move on.

The kid has to meet the standard, not vise-versa. To do otherwise only perpetuates false achievements and the equaly-false grades which eventualy lead to HOPE kids having to take remedials.

Educational Genocide

March 30th, 2010
10:16 am

I believe NCLB should be renamed to NCLB physically. For all the hoopla and the cheering over passing a test, it all boils down to who can be successful at guessing. It was stated earlier that if you teach well, the students will pass the test. I have seen countless number of “A” students who are not good test takers, and a great deal many “F” students who pass with flying colors. The sad thing is, those failing students get passed along, even if they can barely read. Could this be the underlining reason the dropout rate is so high? DUH!!!

Of course, data is important. I rely on it to tell me whether my students are grasping a particular concept. Yet, it should not be the determinant for teacher success in student achievement. What about academic gain?

I have a student who came to me in 7th grade on a 3rd grade level. He is now on a 5th grade level. Who gets the credit? I would think that everyone who taught him up to this point had some hand in his success. The sad thing is, the teacher who has him the year he passes, if he passess the CRCT will get the props.

When does the accountability for success shift to the student and parents as well. We can only do what we can with the time we have alotted, one hour daily. Subtract 15 minutes of dealing with disciplinary issues and 10 minutes of dealing with conflict issues amongst students, and we are left with 30 minutes of teaching time daily. Even with superb teaching, and maximized time useage this leaves very little time for true modifications and assessments of individual needs. When is the student and the parent required to do their part?