EDCI 506 Blog Week 5: Governing and Administering

February 15, 2014

One would think in this day and age that school systems would be able to provide a free and appropriate education for each and every student that enters their doors without federal, state, and local mandates. But, alas they do not. I find this saddening and appalling for so many reasons. I think that once something is left to the government to determine and set guidelines for that it opens up school systems for many unnecessary and useless practices. The concept of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is good, but the implementation of it is poor at best. I think it should be every school districts goal to provide every student with an excellent education. The guiding rule for that is the community, if you provide students with an excellent education your community will succeed, the workplace will prosper, and so will the workforce. I do think that NCLB brought about so good things like having highly qualified teachers. I just don’t think that the goal of “having every child making the grade on state-defined education standards by the end of the 2013-14 school year” (Ornstein, Levine, Gutek & Vocke, 2013, p. 19) is an obtainable goal on any level. Some students are not going to be able to function on that level, ever. What do we gain by having these students testing? I think compiling a portfolio of the students work and submitting them to the governing agency can obtain a true portrait of a student’s progress and abilities. I think one of the major problems NCLB is that we got so caught up in testing and the guidelines that teachers have to follow that we lose focus on teaching the students what they need to know to be successful.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_F7N-_pSOk

As a teacher I look forward to having my special education class, which will probably be a collaborative class with the current trends in education. I hope to be able to have an effect on all of the students in the classroom. I think that by working with all of the students in this collaborative environment that the students who are identified as having special needs with not feel like they are being singled out and made to feel different than the other students. I think that for these students they need to feel like they are just as important and equal as other students. Also there are always some students who are not identified or their parents didn’t want them labeled who are in these classrooms that need and want extra help. The point is at the end of the day kids just want to feel like they are people and matter to someone. It is our job as teachers’ to create a learning environment in our classrooms and to remain professional at all times, no matter the amount of stress laws and mandates place upon us.

Ornstein, A. C., Levine, D. U., Gutek, G. L., & Vocke, D. E. (2014). Foundations of education (12th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Portfolio Assessment. (2011, June 22). YouTube. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_F7N-_pSOk.

Categories: Foundations of American Education.

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Comment Feed

3 Responses

  1. Kendra AllingFebruary 16, 2014 @ 10:43 pm

    I like your idea about leaving it up to the district to decide their goals. That way the district and community work together to discern what is appropriate and achievable while still setting goals. This individualizes goals and can take into effect schools that may have higher population of students, that for whatever reason, do not perform well on standardized tests.

  2. cricigliFebruary 16, 2014 @ 7:27 pm

    I love your post. I agree with you when you state when things are left to the government we get a lot of standards we are expected to reach but these standards may not be practical. I think that the bodies setting these standards cannot be as far removed as the government. They need to have knowledge of schools, classrooms, children and practices. They need to have been actively involved to understand the problems and the places that we need to work on. Setting standards without having this knowledge could lead to a lot of problems as it is right now. Great post 🙂

  3. rtaylordoddFebruary 16, 2014 @ 5:29 pm

    Tracie–

    You’re certainly right that the ‘portfolio’ approach seems to be, for some students, a more comprehensive indication of their knowledge and growth over the school year (and arguably would be for every student). Here in Virginia, students with a significant-enough documented intellectual disability are allowed to submit a VAAP portfolio in lieu of taking the SOL tests, but I think your comments point to a real frustration for students (and those students’ teachers) in that kind of ‘grey area’ between being eligible for a VAAP-like approach and having some legitimate chance for success on the SOLs.

    There’s a student I worked with a little last year who I still see in the halls and chat with when I can, and I know there are some SOL tests he took last year that he had to re-take in remediation over the summer, still couldn’t pass, and is now taking the courses again (and in at least one case already failing the SOL again in a course that runs on a semester/block schedule). In our school, SOL tests start in December and seemingly run perpetually from there. For a student like this, the ‘standards’ then just become an omnipresent source of frustration and blow to morale.

    I think there is a positive spirit to the goal of including and applying these standards to (nearly) every student, but in some cases it seems like certain students can have their self-confidence and overall attitude towards school ‘sacrificed’ in the name of accountability. Not that this is necessarily occurring in the case I mentioned above, but one has to wonder if, as you say, we’ve lost focus a little bit here.

    That being said, as you mention at the end of your post, we as educators ought to try our best to maintain a positive, supportive attitude in our actual interactions with students. It becomes a bit of a front-of-the-house/back-of-the-house situation: we can gripe and offer feedback and campaign behind the scenes, but in our classrooms we should still try everything in our power to help our students succeed with the task placed before them. It’s not like they’re going to enjoy taking all these tests any more than we enjoy giving them. =)



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