:: The Bitch Girls ::

Where the Personal becomes the Political at our whim...
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:: Sunday, April 06, 2003 ::

Public School Problems There are reasons that a) I'd like to leave New England, and b) I'm not opposed towards pushing more private options in education. Anyway, I'm not only a product of public schools, but I work in one right now. While I do public relations related work for the school, I have to handle a lot of information on No Child Left Behind. I put together newsletters from the main office that covers all sorts of issues from NCLB to community service projects for the schools. I'm so happy the College "donated" the money for the position because I love it. (And I don't feel bad about taking taxpayer money!) I will admit that a big benefit is the fact that the district is small. People actually care. Anyway, not on to my point. I just found this story in the Boston Globe about the new provisions of NCLB that school districts are quickly trying to meet.
One of the newest pieces of information - and the most controversial - is the evaluation of teacher credentials as the law seeks to hold adults accountable for student achievement. In addition to learning how many of their schools' teachers are licensed, parents also will discover what portion of core classes - such as English, math, science, foreign language and history - are taught by teachers who are ''highly qualified,'' or knowledgeable in the subject area they teach.
School districts also must tell parents that they can request information about teacher qualifications while notifying parents if their child has been taught for at least four weeks by a teacher who is not highly qualified. The reports are to be made available to parents in a variety of ways, including being sent home with students or being posted on websites.
The move to measure teacher qualifications and report them to parents has rankled some in the classroom, who insist there's much more to being a good teacher than simply knowing your subject. The ability to communicate a lesson, for example, is not reflected on the report cards.
I can understand concern that some parents might interpret grades a little differently than they are intended. (For example, reading anything less than an 'A' as not good. I don't know about y'all, but I know many parents out there consider 'A' to be the standard, when it is supposed to be for excellent work.) But the tone of the article seems to me to have a problem with putting the information out to the public. The taxpayers are the people that are picking up the tab. I think they have every right to have this information readily available.

As for the criticisms that it's hard to express the actual ability to teach, as opposed to just what people know, in the form of a grade, I agree with those concerns. However, I don't think this problem applies below middle school. Beginning at the middle school level, what you know means just as much as your ability to teach it. If you have a great repoire with students, it won't change the fact that you might not know anything to teach them. Considering how competitive colleges have become over the last few years, it is vital that we have teachers who actually know content. Call me crazy, but I don't think it is too much to ask.

Now, what does this have to do with leaving New England? Most people here bitch about everything that requires anyone to hold any kind of responsibility. What does it have to do with private schools? There are lots of flaws in public schools and the fact that they are up in arms over this just proves that there are probably many more we will find out in the process of getting these report cards out.

:: Bitter 5:57 PM [+] ::
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