Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Our neighbor, Berryville

According to the front page of our local paper there is a major personnel conflict brewing in Berryville, Arkansas over the matter of how to conform to state standards. For the last two years, Berryville schools have been identified as "not making adequate progress in raising student test scores." Teachers and coaches are charging the school with harassment. Some have voiced concerns that the school board and superintendent are trying to force senior teachers to resign.

On the school superintendent side of the argument, "Let me tell you what is really going on," Dr. Randy Byrd writes."Some individuals on our staff are being held accountable for what is going on in their classrooms, many for the first time in a number of years."

The school hired The Learning Institute to redesign course material to "achieve better test results." In other words, help teachers to better "teach to the test."

And so, this is a long story told short, but one that is played out in nearly every community in America.

3 comments:

Ethan said...

I love that word - accountability. Not used enough, if you ask me.

I wonder if we are starting to see the results of rewarding participation over achievement. It sounds good on paper, but unfortunately this methodology does nothing to prepare a child for life in the really real world. Just showing up to work every day isn't going to cut it - you have to work hard, put forth the effort, and show you have the knowledge and skill in order to stay employed.

Doug Stowe said...

Ethan, I think the operative word here is skill. We think that knowledge is what schools are for, but you can get that from google. Skill implies the ability to do something. We aren't asking our kids to do anything, except practice what's on the tests, so they can pass with high enough test scores so that the school districts show enough progress to continue to be rewarded with state revenues.

There is a life after school that you can't test for. Life itself is the test, and educators should be asking themselves whether we are preparing our kids for life... and lifelong love of learning.

Anonymous said...

"...We aren't asking our kids to do anything, except practice what's on the tests..."

You are so right. And it's not just at the elementary and secondary levels.

Mario