Looking for superman? Check out the teacher in front of the classroom.

A makeshift cemetery to all the skills and classes sacrificed to testing at the Save Our Schools rally. (Amy Dees)

A makeshift cemetery to all the skills and classes sacrificed to testing at the Save Our Schools rally. (Amy Dees)

I didn’t get to attend the Save Our Schools rally in DC a few weeks ago, but Coweta school board member Amy Dees sent me a note that she attended. I asked her to share an account with us.

She sent this essay a while ago but the news events of the last three weeks have delayed its appearance. Amy Dees also gave me some of her photos to post here.

By Amy Dees

I have been an advocate of our public education system for years. I am a product of the public school system and all four of my children attend public school. My name is Amy Dees and I currently hold the District One Board of Education seat in Coweta County.

I became actively involved in public education when my oldest daughter started kindergarten in 2000. I was a room mom, school volunteer, PTO Officer, and later PTO President. I ran for my local school board because I saw a need for better communication between our classrooms and our board room. My goal is to bridge that gap.

I have been writing about education for years. I have written promotional material, PTO policies, and numerous articles on education, but I lacked the one element that Michelle Rhee obtained….Oprah. ( I am positive that no one has ever heard of me.)

I know many of you have heard of the movie “Waiting for Superman.” This is a film that smears our public educators and promotes the privatization of our public education system. Well, let me just say, congratulations, you no longer have to wait. He has arrived!

I honestly want to tell you that he has never actually been here and that your public schools are full of hero’s that fight for

Thousands gathered for the rally, many to protest the testing mania in U.S. schools. (Dees)

Thousands gathered for the rally, many to protest the testing mania in U.S. schools. (Dees)

your children’s education every day. They always have. I am talking about our educators.

I believe that everyone that interacts with your child at school on a daily basis is an educator. Bus drivers aka educator, custodians aka educator, cafeteria workers aka educator, teacher aka educator and here is the most important one of all…PARENT aka EDUCATOR. Parents need to stop blaming our educators and get up and get to work educating our children. In order to do that, we need to abolish AYP and put an end to standardized testing. You can wait around for superman or you can do something about it.

I chose to do something about it. I had the honor of meeting Diane Ravitch, education historian, at a conference in Savannah

Coweta school board member Amy Dees.

Coweta school board member Amy Dees.

this past June. She invited me to attend the “Save our Schools Rally” in Washington last month. A rally? To Save our Schools? Count me in. My 16-year-old daughter and I headed to DC.  We arrived the morning of the march and my brother-in-law (who lives there) was kind enough to drop us off and go park the car. My daughter and I, along with my 17- year- old niece, jumped out and headed toward the lawn. We were standing in the shadow on the Washington Monument and I could feel my pulse soar. We are at a march…in Washington…to save our schools!  ( I can cross that off my bucket list!)

The reality of the day made us all giddy. We made our way toward the stage weaving our way in and out of the crowd. I wanted to catch a glimpse of Diane and let her know that I had arrived. (Not that she really knew who I was, but it was important to me.)  A few moments later, I did exactly that and she gave me a “thumbs-up” before making her way to the media tent. We walked around reading all of the posters that the protesters had created. One read :”No behinds get ahead!” Another read: “Teaching is an Art, not a business.”

The heat enveloped us like blanket so we took the free water offered by the organizers of the event and found a shady spot under a tree. Near our new found oasis, we saw the reporter from Reason.TV asking questions of the protesters. We saw the CNN cameraman trying not to trip as he walked backward trying to film the events. We saw a huge, over-sized poster of President Obama’s face marked with a Hitler mustache with the words “Impeach Obama” printed in bold print at the bottom. It was attached to a long pole so that it could be carried around. A few of Obama’s supporters tried their best to walk in front of the sign to hide its message from view. We noticed several teacher unions and watched several state groups march in matching shirts all heavily soaked with sweat. One of my favorite things at the march was the “No Child Left Behind” mock cemetery. Inside a make-shift fence were small, painted headstones that read “In loving memory of Critical Thinking” and “Here lies Art, PE and Music.”

I was here. I was making a difference or was I just sweating profusely? I do not agree with teacher unions and I was surrounded by several.  I was hot.  I debated fleeing to the air conditioning of the car. My temper flared along with my body heat as I listened to these union folks talk about their “rights.” My daughter summed it all up quite nicely. “What about the students?” I was grateful that no one near us had actually heard her say that, but I had to agree. We were here merely to lend a voice in helping abolish AYP.  I don’t actually know a lot about the unions, but that is not why we were here.

We were here for the STUDENTS. We were here to be their voice. We rose to our feet and made our way to the front of the crowd and then I heard His voice. (Not HIS voice…I was hot, but not close to dying). The voice of . John Kuhn, the superintendent of Perrin-Whitt Consolidated Independent Schools from the great state of Texas. ( He was on the stage and he sounded a bit like a Southern Baptist preacher.)

He asked if our government had to answer to annual yearly progress. He asked if our government would have all of our citizens employed by the year 2014.  (That is when all of our schools are to pass AYP with 100 percent). He talked about immigration and much to the delight of my daughter…he talked about STUDENTS.  I do believe he is my new hero ( I am not waiting for you-know-who).

We went around to the media tent to shake his hand when we spotted the media frenzy that surrounded Matt Damon. Matt

Matt Damon signs autographs at the rally. (Amy Dees)

Matt Damon signs autographs at the rally. (Amy Dees)

was kind and was enduring the heat with the rest of us. He is a supporter of public education and for that I am grateful. His mother is an educator.  I opted not to ask for an autograph or a photograph. I was a bit sweaty and didn’t feel that I should be getting up close and personal with the celebrity that came to support our cause. He respects education so I respected him.

I was able to shake the hand of the man that I now call “SUPERMAN!” John Kuhn was excited and very friendly. He thanked me for my involvement in education and I did the same to him. I mentioned that I was born in Texas and he smiled. I was more star-struck with this amazing educator than I had previously been with  Matt Damon. ( Still a big fan, Mr. Damon.)

The day continued with the temperatures soaring near 100 degrees. I actually saw an old man sporting the hippie look holding a sign that read “Education NOT War!” I did not agree with the man, but that made my march on Washington DC complete. This lawn had seen many protesters through the years and now I could leave my own, sweaty footprints behind.

I was once told that we all make a difference, but we must ask ourselves what difference is it that we are going to make? I believe that our nation’s greatest natural resource is our children. I believe that it is our duty as parents to stand up and parent our children. I believe that super hero’s exist only in the comic strips, but if you want to witness a true, honest all-American hero, step into a classroom and watch a teacher. We need stop bashing America’s education system and get to the true root of the problem. TESTING.  The federal government can change it. Will they?

I don’t know, but that is no excuse for us to sell our children to the highest bidder and give our public tax dollars over to private corporations and say, “Here, you try.”

The answer is simple. The answer is our parents. The most important person in any child’s education is their parent. Are all parents involved? No, that is why it is so important for those of us who can be involved to GET involved. Mentor a student if you don’t have one. Ordinary parents can become extra-ordinary leaders in our school system and we need you.

Don’t sit around waiting for “superman” because our nation can’t afford to wait. We are wasting valuable time that needs to be invested in our children now. Be the kryptonite in your school. Let your emerald green light shine through! You don’t need one hero.  You are surrounded by many.

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

73 comments Add your comment

Good Mother

August 30th, 2011
12:44 pm

This is not a bi-partisan article regarding education. The author, Amy Dees, clearly has a political agenda and therefore what she says cannot be taken seriously.

When public schools fail, we parents have to try other options whether it be homeschooling, private schools, charter schools or whatever works.

My children are in public schools and I work myself as hard as I can and I do everything I can to support the teachers, the students, the school, my children and so on but I am not so naive I believe that public schools should not be held accountable and I do not believe every teacher is a good one.

There is room for improvement, especially in APS.

AlreadySheared

August 30th, 2011
12:49 pm

“Be the kryptonite in your school.”!!

Kryptonite is really, really bad for Superman!

A.D.

August 30th, 2011
12:54 pm

Good Mother: I agree this article is not bi-partisan, yet I ask: Why does it have to be? Do you think that the people writing about and advocating homeschooling or charter schools are bi-partisan or without their own “political agenda”? Everything in education is political, whether we want it to be or not. That doesn’t mean that it can’t be “taken seriously,” as you claim.

Good Mother

August 30th, 2011
12:56 pm

To A.D. — because news articles need to be objective, not subjective. Get the facts and report them, not push an agenda. We need journalism, excellent journalism, not hype by someone who wants to push her own agenda.

Inman Park Boy

August 30th, 2011
1:00 pm

I, too, am a produict of public education. I never attended a private school, college or university in my life, and that includes graduate and professional schools. However, I am not an “advocate” of public education; I am. however, an advocate for choice in education, as every American should be. Practically every successful western democracy other than the U.S. allocates public funding for the education of chidlren without specifying that the education must be in a public school. In most of Europe, and in Canada, the government provides a certain amount of money per child (from taxes) for that child’s education, and a parent may choose a public, private, or religious school for their child. All of these schools must meet certain state standards in order to receove state funds. This is true freedom of choice, and not the sham we practice in the U.S.

Maureen Downey

August 30th, 2011
1:01 pm

@Good mother, I asked Ms. Dees to write an account based on her experiences. This piece is basically an op-ed/opinion piece, not a straight news account.
Maureen

Good Mother

August 30th, 2011
1:11 pm

Maureen, I wouldn’t even call it an op/ed piece. It’s drivel, emotional, and an embarrassment to your column and it undermines your credibility as a journalist. With all the intelligent and educated people within your sphere of influence, surely you can find someone who understands we don’t care if she is sweaty and met Matt Damon. Really, this “piece” is an embarrassment for the AJC.

Elizabeth

August 30th, 2011
1:18 pm

Thank you , Amy Dees.I wish you were in my school system.

Dr. K

August 30th, 2011
1:23 pm

We do not need to ABOLISH standardized testing. We need testing! Testing is essential. We need to stop making general inferences based on test scores. Test scores should be personal. It is an ASSESSMENT! You MUST assess students regularly. But using combining scores of all the kids into one big fat score and grading the school on that score is stupid. Teachers have no control of the billions of uncontrolled variables that can affect testing results. So to use that as a litmus for “good teaching” is unfair.

I wish people like you would not hold positions in public education. You are obviously uneducated in child development. To abolish testing would be a huge mistake,. My children go to private school. When they take the ITBS (iowa test) the scores are reported to the counselor, the teacher, and ME. That’s it. The scores may be compiled for all testers in the school. But it is used to assess my child’s developmental needs. As it should be.

We also need accountability. But NCLB was not a well thought out plan. And we need to stop unfunded educational mandates that leave local school districts holding the financial burden so ill-informed, good intended, bureaucrats ideas.

Maureen Downey

August 30th, 2011
1:25 pm

@Good Mother, Have to disagree. I thought it was honest and I liked the emotion. That is the point of first-person accounts; you want people to be honest. You want them to be emotional. Amy Dees is not a professional writer or journalist, but I thought she gave us an interesting look at a controversial event, and she had some great observations about details she saw. There is room on this blog for all sorts of contributions.
Maureen

Really amazed

August 30th, 2011
1:47 pm

We need to be our own child’s superman!!! We can’t wait for the gov’t to be. Liked the fact that she is a mom trying to change things while waiting.

Good Mother

August 30th, 2011
1:48 pm

OK, Maureen, I’ll agree to disagree with you. If you want to make it better, I would suggest you provide BOTH sides of the opinion and editorial instead of just one side. Get two pieces, one from each side of the controversey, not just one side. When you only allow one side of an opinion, you are being an advocate and are favoring an opinion. You’re not providing equal time and an equal platform.

Tonya C.

August 30th, 2011
1:48 pm

Maureen,

I liked the article. It was nice to get a first-hand account of the march. I don’t agree with the author on everything, but I can respect seeing things through her eyes.

Dr. K,

So true. Standardized testing is not the problem. We had it long before NCLB was instituted. But using it as a barometer as anything more than the status of the individual child is what is new.

To Dr. K from Good Mother

August 30th, 2011
1:51 pm

I appreciate your comments. Thank you for your thoughts. GM

atlmom

August 30th, 2011
2:08 pm

Anyone who completely discounts the movie waiting for superman because they think it has an ‘agenda’ is COMPLETELY missing the point. Seriously. They aren’t saying that education is bad, they are saying that our government implementation has been shown to be a dismal failure.
To dismiss that movie without thinking it has ANYTHING to say? really? wow.
LOOK at what it has to say. The solution of the people who put the movie together might be something one disagrees with…but really…how could anyone come to the conclusion that what we are doing is okay? it is not. Clearly. Other people may have other solutions…but to think that nothing needs to be done is folly.

Dr. John Trotter

August 30th, 2011
2:15 pm

Well said, Amy.

Standard testing is indeed the culprit, and it has made fools of a lot of perhaps well-intentioned (is this a word? Ha!) educators. Coach Vince Lombardi said that “fatigue makes cowards of us all.” I can’t really say that “testing makes cowards of us all” because I never fell for the testing mania. In fact, for years, we have been railing standardized testing, calling it the false god of public education. Up until Ravitch’s recent harangue (yea Diane!) against standardized testing and the resulting cheating culture, I thought that perhaps only we at MACE understood this. But, we were like Elijah (or was that Elisha?) who thought that he was the only one in Israel who had not bowed down to Baal. The Lord informed the prophet that there were many others in Israel who had not bowed down to Baal.

I am very glad that Diane Ravitch and other like you, Ms. Dees, have spoken out so eloquently against this madness of the testing mania. In our first publication at MACE (The Teacher’s Advocate!) in 1995 in the first article, I railed against this testing mania. I hope more and more will take the same step that Amy Dees has taken and will speak out against this madness which is doing irreparable harm to our children.

By the way, Coweta County is a good school system. I saw and talked with retired superintendent Blake Bass at Atlanta Fitness a while back. He did a good job running the schools down here in Pearl of the Southside. (Coweta County is truly the Pearl in the Crown of the Southside. Shsss. Don’t tell the folks in Peachtree City, OK? They actually think that PTC is the Crown itself! Ha! Actually, I love PTC as well as I adore Coweta County. In fact, I met some MACE colleagues at Chilli’s in PTC for a late lunch yesterday.)

http://www.theteachersadvocate.com

http://www.georgiateachersspeakout.com

oldtimer

August 30th, 2011
2:19 pm

We need to be our own child’s superman!!!
Truer words cannot be spoken. It is past time when we can depend on other people to do the best job.
Also. I am a product of public education, private and public college, and taught 32 years. I think the schools have been overburdened with a social agenda they can no longer complete. Parents ought to be able to choose and I think it would make all of us better.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

August 30th, 2011
2:31 pm

We’ll have the best public education system which we’ll work together to produce. No, Superman isn’t the answer. Rather, Moms, Dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and residents of every neighborhood must work with concerned, competent teachers and administrators to make our public schools world-class education institutions.

Dr NO aka Mr Sunshine

August 30th, 2011
2:34 pm

I eat kryptonite for breakfast.

atlmom

August 30th, 2011
2:39 pm

Oldtimer: part of the problem is that many in our society are buying a bill of goods (and it’s everyone poor to rich). Oh, the government will take care of it. Our government will educate our society, so don’t worry about it. I’m sure you’ve seen even some of those parents who were interviewed wrt the APS scandals…and they say how they just thought that their kid was passing the tests, and now they’re being told their kids’s answers were changed on the tests. and they’re shocked…
It’s because people have been told for decades that they can just send junior to school, and all will be fine.
so there are many parents who don’t even know how to take charge of their kids’education anymore

ProfessorMom

August 30th, 2011
3:11 pm

Hooray for all the Amy’s out there–and other parents and teachers who are trying to have a say in this politically charged era! The big business that is standardized testing is the tail wagging the dog. We need to take charge and demand that children’s best interests lie at the center of any and all educational policy and classroom practice. If kids got a vote, they’d kick the standardized testers out!

atlmom

August 30th, 2011
3:15 pm

professormom: hey, if parents (like me!) had a vote there would be no standardized testers either.
I’m SO HAPPY my first grader at least doesn’t have to take the tests. Well, tin the end, he has to take some sort of test if we are to get him into the challenge program, tho…

Dr. John Trotter

August 30th, 2011
3:16 pm

“As he had done with Moses, God told Elijah to stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD was about to pass by. Then a great and terrible wind tore the mountain and rocks apart–but the LORD was not in the wind. After that there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. Then came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. Finally, the LORD spoke to him in a whisper, a still, small voice, clear and real: “What are you doing here?” And Elijah responded with the same answer. But God gave him his new commission–and informed him that he had 7,000 who had not bowed down to Baal. Elijah was not the only one left–but he was the one God wanted to use.”

[Note: I guess it was Elijah -- and not Elisha -- to whom the Lord spoke about having 7,000 who had not bowed down to Baal.]

Well said, Amy.

Standard testing is indeed the culprit, and it has made fools of a lot of perhaps well-intentioned (is this a word? Ha!) educators. Coach Vince Lombardi said that “fatigue makes cowards of us all.” I can’t really say that “testing makes cowards of us all” because I never fell for the testing mania. In fact, for years, we have been railing standardized testing, calling it the false god of public education. Up until Ravitch’s recent harangue (yea Diane!) against standardized testing and the resulting cheating culture, I thought that perhaps only we at MACE understood this. But, we were like Elijah (or was that Elisha?) who thought that he was the only one in Israel who had not bowed down to Baal. The Lord informed the prophet that there were many others in Israel who had not bowed down to Baal.

I am very glad that Diane Ravitch and others like you, Ms. Dees, have spoken out so eloquently against this madness of the testing mania. In our first publication at MACE (The Teacher’s Advocate!) in 1995 in the first article, I railed against this testing mania. I hope more and more will take the same step that Amy Dees has taken and will speak out against this madness which is doing irreparable harm to our children.

By the way, Coweta County is a good school system. I saw and talked with retired superintendent Blake Bass at Atlanta Fitness a while back. He did a good job running the schools down here in Pearl of the Southside. (Coweta County is truly the Pearl in the Crown of the Southside. Shsss. Don’t tell the folks in Peachtree City, OK? They actually think that PTC is the Crown itself! Ha! Actually, I love PTC as well as I adore Coweta County. In fact, I met some MACE colleagues at Chilli’s in PTC for a late lunch yesterday.)

http://www.theteachersadvocate.com

http://www.georgiateachersspeakout.com

Amy Dees

August 30th, 2011
3:58 pm

Enter your comments here
Thank you for your comments. I do appreciate each one because I think that is what makes us great as a nation. We are entitled to our opinion and from differences of opinion comes growth and learning. This is an emotional piece because it is an emotional issue for me personally. Education is my passion. I thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.

mum

August 30th, 2011
4:38 pm

Heavens, why is it so necessary to bash something that is clearly Ms. Dees’ account of her experiences? It was a good read. Her observations give the exact feel of the experiene of attending a march, so, instead of bashing her, maybe some here should go out and march to make changes in your children’s education.

Freaks on the Loose!

August 30th, 2011
6:21 pm

Enter your comments here

Nanna

August 30th, 2011
6:29 pm

So, I guess she’s a fan of Michele Rhee and maybe even the disgraceful Beverly Hall.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

August 30th, 2011
6:34 pm

Emotion must provide the energy but reason must decide the direction.

historydawg

August 30th, 2011
8:34 pm

Good mother, can you not see the nuance in Dees’ observations? Can you not see that she encountered people she agreed with and those that she did not? Nothing about education is bipartisan. Our founding fathers who wrote public education into our state constitutions understood that an educated populace is the greatest investment in the protection of liberty. Unfortunately, now our children are simply political ploys. The question remains: How do we know that education rhetoric is truly in support of the children that everyone claims to be advocating for? Perhaps we should consider a speaker’s actions. Perhaps we should not be quick to ignore those who invest the lives of children, including this woman who serves on a school board. Most are simply looking out for #1, whether it be their political position (Ga State Legislature), economic gain (Gates, Oprah), or their own families (voucher advocates). Politics, greed, and amoral familism are all threats to our democracy. We can do better, but we must do better for all students.

slp98

August 30th, 2011
10:09 pm

Inman Park Boy – As long as private and/or religious schools are required to accept any student that applies (just as public schools do), I have no problem with competition. If not, you create an incredibly unfair system for students that are not “desirable” enough for private schools. Additionally, expenses to educate students with special needs are very high (much higher than what is provided by the federal and state governments). Again, public schools would be punished financially by having to educate these students because public schools cannot turn away any student.

Until the day arrives when private schools must accept all students that show up at their doorstep, complete the same insane amounts of paperwork as public schools, etc., we’ll never be able to compare the effectiveness of instruction in public vs. private schools.

Beck

August 30th, 2011
11:08 pm

Good Mother – It’s a blog. If you want a news story, read a news ARTICLE.

If you want Maureen to publish a different side, OFFER.

If you’re a regular reader you already know her format and this isn’t a physical newspaper where you get to spread out 2 different editorials across a page. If she has an opposing viewpoint, she’ll post it separately.

redweather

August 30th, 2011
11:16 pm

I’m not sure Canada is an educational garden of Eden. Just as in this country, one’s residential address clearly impacts the quality of the public education a student can expect to receive. However, there is certainly more local control at the provincial level. But that is not always a plus.

Dr. Craig Spinks/ Augusta

August 31st, 2011
1:08 am

Beck,

Thanks.

www.honeyfern.org

August 31st, 2011
7:32 am

@Good Mother – I am curious as to how you would identify the other side. What is the other side of this for you?

Honest question, not snarky, I promise.

To Honey from Good Mother

August 31st, 2011
8:00 am

Good question, Honey. The other side is the opposite of what the “author” is saying. The so-called author is using her visit as a platform to justify doing away with no child left behind and standardized testing. We need to hear from someone who is on the opposite side of that coin.

Like every GOOD op/ed piece, BOTH sides are presented, not just one.

To History Dawg from Good Mother

August 31st, 2011
8:04 am

There are no nuances to this “piece.” It’s merely a platform to bash Obama, whine about no child left behind and to undermine standardized testing.

Yawn.

www.honeyfern.org

August 31st, 2011
9:15 am

@Good Mother, again, not snarky, but just to clarify your position on this issue: you agree with NCLB as it stands and support the current standardized testing protocols and tests in place?

Do you have an example of an unbiased op-ed piece on this subject?

Capsized in DeKalb

August 31st, 2011
9:17 am

GM,
There is no “Other Side” to NCLB. It needs to GO just like the DOE! Keep the funding and decisions at the local level! Just one person’s opinion.

William Casey

August 31st, 2011
9:47 am

I’m for the standardized testing of PARENTS before they become parents. Would save a lot of time and trouble. Modestly, I’d call it the “Casey Ready-for-Parenthood Exam.” Score above 1200 and you get a license to produce a child. Jonathan Swift would approve. (Hope everyone has a sense of humor this morning.)

To Honey from Good Mother

August 31st, 2011
10:07 am

I believe we should have a national standardized test such as the Iowa test and require it to be given to every student in the United States including home schools, private schools, charter schools and public schools.

As a parent and a tax payer, I have a right to know how my child’s education stacks up against any other. The reason is my child will have to compete with every other child in the U.S. to enter the same colleges and universitites and will have to compete for the same jobs.

If I could, I would make it a world-wide test, but of course that isn’t feasible.

I would not allow states to make up their own test and decide how many correct answers equal pass and fail.

I would publish all scores and provide enough information to determine how well students are learning by age, income level, cultural background, area and so on.

I would also include the scores as one measure of a teacher’s evaluation along with parents opinions and administrator’s opinoins.

I would do the same for the administrators — they should get an evaluation too and I want to see where every penny goes. Illuminate every expense for education including salaries, perks, administrative supplies, every penny.

I would provide vouchers for parents so they could be a real customer and get to choose the school they want to attend or use it to provide an education at home — with standards.

I think before a teacher becomes a teacher she or he should have to pass a test to weed out the teachers who cannot write or speak a simple sentence.

I also believe students should not be passed to the next grade if they are not ready for the next grade. For example, a third grade science teacher cannot teach third grade science to a student who cannot read.

I am all for accountability and responsibility in our school systems and we should illuminate, publish and scrutinize every expense. Open records for all. No secrets.

I would make school districts much smaller to increase accountability and to ensure that a local community can have an impact on elections instead of one’s race determining whether one gets elected.

More choice. More accountability. More communication. More honest, good government.

Good Mother

Maureen Downey

August 31st, 2011
10:16 am

@honeyfern, Certainly not unbiased, but take a look at the piece I just posted from Pelham City school chief Jim Arnold about No Child. He wrote a very strong piece condemning the law and its ramifications for public education.
Maureen

To Maureen from Good Mother

August 31st, 2011
10:33 am

Yes, I see you have another writer condemning the law and NCLB. What I don’t see is any balance. I have yet to read a guest writer in your column who is an advocate for standardized testing.

You need to present both sides.

Maureen Downey

August 31st, 2011
10:37 am

@To all, I would love a piece on the benefits of standardized testing. And there are benefits. I was interviewing someone a few months ago who said that it was high test scores on a standardized test that first opened his eyes to his own potential and put him on track to college and eventually a doctorate.
The issue isn’t testing, however. It is the use of testing. Most people understand the value of testing as a diagnostic tool; it is the use of testing as the sole arbiter of whether a school is good or bad.
But I would love a piece on the benefits of testing.
Maureen

Observer

August 31st, 2011
11:02 am

@ Maureen Downey. Yes, such an op-ed piece should inspire a fury of blogging, and would definitely be in the interests of presenting both sides of an issue. I assume that its author would not be anonymous, as on these blog-threads, but would include name, picture, and credentials?

Maureen Downey

August 31st, 2011
11:09 am

@Observer, If the piece is submitted as an op-ed to run in the paper, it needs to carry a byline. I have run pro testing pieces in the past — the education page has been around for five years — but am always looking for good education op-eds on all topics.
Maureen

To Maureen from Good Mother

August 31st, 2011
11:26 am

Interesting comment. Please ask the person with the doctorate to write a column as a guest writer. I would love to hear his or her opinions.

Kudos to Dr. Craig from Good Mother

August 31st, 2011
11:30 am

“Rather, Moms, Dads, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and residents of every neighborhood must work with concerned, competent teachers and administrators to make our public schools world-class education institutions.”

Excellent. Every person has a role in education including providing concerned, competent teachers and administrators. As a parent, I complete support all of them and am working as hard as I possibly can to provide my child an education.

To Observer from Good Mother

August 31st, 2011
11:32 am

Just curious, why is a PICTURE important?

Certainly any writer should include name and credentials but a picture? Why do you need to know what a writer looks like?

Is it because you need to know his or her race?

That doesn’t sound right.

d

August 31st, 2011
11:51 am

@Maureen….. I would agree there are benefits to standardized testing, but unfortunately we rarely use the tests to help the people who need it most – the students. If the test is showing that a student is truly struggling with the curriculum, we should hold that student back until he or she demonstrates that they can master the curriculum. Unfortunately, children nowadays have been exposed all their lives to the mantra of making sure everyone feels good. Everyone makes the team, everyone deserves an A, etc. I am rather young – still 32 years old – but I never once received a grade that I hadn’t earned and I refuse to give my students a grade they don’t earn. It makes my skin crawl with all the extra chances students are given to get the answer right. That does not resemble anything in the real world. I think, however, that this is all a result of the over-reliance on standardized tests and penalizing the wrong group – the schools and teachers. Since graduation rates are part of the AYP measurement for high school, I have to make sure enough of my students are passing, even though I know that they are copying each other’s home work or turning it in 2 months late. Does it surprise me when these students who now have Cs in my class fail EOCT? Absolutely not. I provide the proverbial water, I cannot pour it down the students’ throats.

November 6, 2012

August 31st, 2011
11:52 am

@To History Dawg from Good Mother

August 31st, 2011
8:04 am
It’s merely a platform to bash Obama. Yawn.

Mom, he needs bashing. Remember to vote on November 6, 2012